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The Politics of Ritual, Tradition

and Control





First published 2000

345 Archway Road, London N6 5AA
and 22883 Quicksilver Drive,
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Copyright Dominic Bryan 2000
The right of Dominic Bryan to be identified as the author of this work has
been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from
the British Library
ISBN 0 7453 1418 X hardback
ISBN 0 7453 1413 9 paperback
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Bryan, Dominic.
Orange parades : the politics of ritual, tradition, and control /
Dominic Bryan.
p. cm. (Anthropology, culture, and society)
ISBN 074531418X (hardback)
1. ParadesNorthern IrelandHistory. 2. Orange OrderHistory. 3.
Social controlNorthern Ireland. 4. Social classesNorthern Ireland.
5. NationalismNorthern Ireland. 6. Political customs and rites
Northern Ireland. 7. Northern IrelandPolitics and government.
I. Title. II. Series.
GT4046.A2 B78 2000
09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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For Elizabeth and Peter




Drumcree: An Introduction to Parade Disputes

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity, Politics and Ritual
Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth
Parading Respectable Politics
Rituals of State
You Can March Can Others?
The Orange and Other Loyal Orders
The Marching Season
The Twelfth
Tradition, Control and Resistance
Return to Drumcree

Appendix 1 The Number of Parades in Northern Ireland According

to RUC Statistics
Appendix 2 The Marching Season: Important Loyal Order
Parading Dates





The research for this book was made easier thanks to the assistance, encouragement and financial help of a number of departments and individuals. I
have received a lot of time and patience from members of the Orange
Institution and other individuals, and political groups in Northern Ireland,
the Republic of Ireland, England and Scotland for their time and patience.
To all of these people I am grateful. I have not quoted directly from the
interviews I conducted but I hope the views and understandings people have
given me are reflected in what I have written.
Funding, whilst conducting this research, was difficult. I am particularly
grateful to the Cultural Traditions Group (now the Cultural Diversity Group),
part of the Community Relations Council, to the University of Ulster for
providing me with a studentship in 1995 and 1996, and to the Central
Community Relations Unit for providing funding for work on related issues.
Staff at the former Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, now
the School of Social and Community Sciences, at the University of Ulster have
been supportive over many years. I am also grateful to the School of Anthropological Studies at the Queens University, Belfast, to the Centre for the
Study of Conflict at the University of Ulster and Democratic Dialogue, Belfast,
for their encouragement and help in facilitating research needs.
A lot of people have helped me over the past few years. My thanks, in
particular, go to Gerard Bryan, Paul and Jake Campbell, Maurna Crozier,
Julita Clancy, Hastings Donnan, Ciro De Rosa, Seamus Dunn, Tom Fraser,
Gordon Gillespie, Colin Harper, Simon Harrison, Arthur McCullough, David
Officer, Sophie Richmond, Andrew Sanders, Elizabeth Tonkin, Robin Wilson
and Tom Wilson. Most of all I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed a
productive working relationship with my friend Neil Jarman. Many of the
ideas in this book derive from collaborating with Neil over seven years.
Body and soul have been held together by Deidre, Nessie, Harry, Elizabeth
and Peter.
In the end, of course, the responsibility for this work is my own.




Ancient Order of Hibernians

Mobile Support Unit
Democratic Unionist Party
Irish National Foresters
Independent Orange Order
Irish Republican Army
Lower Ormeau Concerned Community
Loyal Orange Lodge
Loyalist Volunteer Force
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association
Northern Ireland Labour Party
Progressive Unionist Party
Royal Ulster Constabulary
Shankill Defence Association
Social Democratic and Labour Party
Ulster Defence Association
Ulster Democratic Party
Ulster Defence Regiment
Ulster Freedom Fighters
Ulster Protestant Volunteers
Ulster Unionist Party
Ulster Volunteer Force
Young Citizens Volunteers


Orange Parades

Map 1 Belfast



Map 2 Northern Ireland


Orange Parades

Map 3 Portadown



On the evening of Monday 10 July 1995 I stood on a hill by the stone wall
of a church graveyard, and watched two men walk down the hill to talk to
some policemen. One was wearing an orange collarette, or sash, the other a
crimson one. By Friday 8 September, one of those men, David Trimble MP,
had become leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, the largest political party in
Northern Ireland. After being elected to that post Mr Trimble was asked if
his success in becoming leader was due to the events of July along the road
from that church. He answered that it was not. However, in my view, whilst
it is true to say that those events alone did not make David Trimble leader,
had they not taken place he may well have had to wait a few more years.
What took place that July evening? The graveyard is situated around
Drumcree church about a mile outside Portadown in County Armagh.
Standing on the hill were thousands of Ulster Protestants, most of them
members of an institution known as the Orange Order. Along with us were
cameras from major television companies as well as journalists from around
the world. Consequently, a global audience saw those two men walk down
the hill to talk to the policemen. Many watching would have recognised the
man walking with David Trimble as the Reverend Ian Paisley, a man whose
reputation as orator, defender of Protestantism and scourge of Popery, is
second to none. Paisley had just climbed down from a platform where, in
characteristic style, he had told the gathered crowd that the future of Ulster
might be decided that night. He is not a member of the Orange Order. Rather
the crimson collarette he wears represents a separate yet similar organisation
known as the Apprentice Boys of Derry.
Along with us all at Drumcree were the policemen of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC). Dressed in riot gear, hundreds of them stood along the
narrow country lane beside dozens of the armoured Land Rovers that have
been such a distinctive part of policing in Northern Ireland. The previous
afternoon, a number of policemen had accompanied lines of Orangemen on
a parade up to the church for a religious service in commemoration of the
Battle of the Boyne (a battle fought in Ireland over 300 years ago). However,
senior policemen, aware of a counter-demonstration, had decided under
legislation specific to Northern Ireland that the Orangemen could not parade

Orange Parades

back to Portadown via the route the Orangemen had annually walked. The
route they wanted to take was the Garvaghy Road a few hundred yards up
from the church, which runs through a predominantly Catholic housing
estate. The large majority of the residents of that estate did not want the
Orangemen to march through their estate and some had been campaigning
for the previous ten years to have them stopped.
The Portadown Orangemen stood facing the police determined that they
would be allowed to parade down the Garvaghy Road. The police introduced
reinforcements when, despite attempts to stop the word spreading, more
Orangemen started to arrive from other parts of Northern Ireland to support
their brethren. Meanwhile the residents of the Garvaghy Road waited apprehensively, keen to demonstrate their opposition to the parade and well aware
of the possible results of a confrontation. There was a stand-off.
On that Monday evening Trimble and Paisley made speeches from a
platform in an adjacent field. Paisley received the biggest applause.
We are here tonight because we have to establish the right of the Protestant People
to march down the Garvaghy Road and our brethren of the Orange Institution to
exercise their right to attend their place of worship and leave that place of worship
and return to their homes. That is the issue we are dealing with tonight and it is a
very serious issue because it lies at the very heart and foundation of our heritage. It
lies at the very heart and foundation of our spiritual life and it lies at the very
foundation of the future of our families and of this Province that we love. If we cannot
go to our place of worship and we cannot walk back from our place of worship then
all that the Reformation brought to us and all that the martyrs died for and all that
our forefathers gave their lives for is lost to us forever. So there can be no turning back.
(Ian Paisley, 10 July 1995)

Even as Paisley spoke, a hundred yards down the lane there were clashes
between the crowd and the lines of police. A running battle developed across
the fields as Orangemen and their supporters tried to reach the Garvaghy
Road. A school and other buildings on the edge of the estate were attacked.
Police fired baton rounds into the groups of men. Although ostensibly used
as a crowd control measure the baton rounds are potentially lethal. Paisley
attempted to calm the crowd with the news that he and Mr Trimble would
negotiate with the police.
Behind the scenes, other negotiations had already begun. Members of the
Mediation Network for Northern Ireland had been brought in to aid negotiations between the residents group and the police since great distrust of the
police exists in Catholic communities. At the same time the police talked to
Orangemen and unionist politicians who refused to talk to the representative
of the residents group. Much was at stake. A peace process had developed the
previous year and had apparently brought an end to the military conflict
that had been ongoing in Northern Ireland since 1969. Both the Irish
Republican Army (IRA), seeking a united Ireland, and loyalist paramilitary
groups, aiming to keep Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, had

Drumcree: An Introduction to Parade Disputes

announced cease-fires; but, as in the late 1960s, it was beginning to look as

if parades and street demonstrations would lead to civil disturbances serious
enough to bring about renewed armed conflict.
Finally, on the morning of Tuesday 11 July, a deal was negotiated. The
Orangemen from the District of Portadown would walk down the Garvaghy
Road without the band they had originally brought with them, who had
gone home anyway, and the residents would stand by the side of the road
and make their protest. Two lines of about 600 Orangemen walked in a
dignified way past silent protesters; but when the parade reached Portadown,
Trimble, Paisley and a crowd of supporters were waiting. The two politicians
joined the parade and received the adulation of the crowd in triumph. To the
dismay of mediators and police, and to the anger of residents of the Garvaghy
Road and the wider Catholic community, the Orangemen claimed victory.
Drumcree was seen by many loyalists as the Protestant people fighting back.
Within months medals were struck commemorating the Seige [sic] of
Drumcree, a video was produced depicting the events, and Trimble was, to
the surprise of many, elected leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.
On 12 July 1995, all over Northern Ireland, members of the Orange
Institution, their families, friends and supporters, prepared to celebrate the
305th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne. This is the battle, in 1690, at
which the Protestant King William III, the Dutch Prince of Orange, won a
victory against King James II, an English Catholic, and is thus perceived by
Protestants in Northern Ireland to have secured the civil rights and religious
liberties of Protestants within predominantly Catholic Ireland.
The largest of the parades is held in Belfast. From early morning
Orangemen, usually dressed in suits and wearing Orange collarettes around
their necks, meet at Orange Halls to prepare for the day with fellow members
of their Orange lodge. The lodge banners depicting places, people, and events
of significance to the lodge, as well as its name and number, are unfurled
and attached to poles ready to be carried through the streets. Members line
up in military-style files behind their lodge banner and are led by a band hired
for the occasion. The bands wear distinctive, brightly coloured, pseudomilitary uniforms, some carry flags, and many have the name of their band
and other loyalist insignia on the big bass drum which forms the centre-piece
of the band. Most of the bands are flute bands, with some side drummers,
and are almost exclusively male. There are some accordion bands and a few
play bagpipes. Many of the larger bands have a group of teenagers, mainly
girls, who follow them on the parade.
The officials of the Orange Institution accompanied by a colour party
carrying flags lead the parade. The crowd cheers as the bands start playing,
with the bass drummer, thumping his drum as hard as possible, almost
jigging down the road. Along most of the route spectators are three or four
deep but in the Catholic areas passed by this parade the only spectators are
policemen, soldiers and a few children. The parade route is well over 6 miles

Orange Parades

long and there are a number of stops for participants to take on refreshment,
a soft drink or perhaps a swig from a bottle of beer, and relieve themselves
behind a house or in an alleyway.
By midday the first of the marchers reach the Field. Some participants
rush off to meals prepared in church halls and hotels, others buy from the
food stalls, whilst still others concentrate on consuming the beer transported
to the Field. At the bottom of the Field is a platform where a few spectators,
journalists and social researchers gather to hear a religious service and some
resolutions proposed by senior Orangemen and politicians. Many of the
bandsmen are more interested in the teenage girls who have accompanied
At around four oclock the parade re-forms with a little less discipline and
decorum. Some Orangemen and bandsmen are just returning from their
hotel meal and look to find their places in the parade. Some members of the
parade are as sober and dignified as at the start. Others, particularly members
of some of the bands, have entered into a little carnival spirit. Face masks,
funny hats, wigs and false beards all appear. The performances are even more
boisterous and the music is a little less disciplined. One song is played and
sung above all others as they return to the centre of Belfast The Sash.
It is old but it is beautiful, and its colours they are fine;
It was worn at Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne;
My father wore it when a youth in the bygone days of yore;
So on the 12th I always wear the Sash my father wore.
As lodges parade to the area of the city in which they are based they get a
rousing reception. Bands finish by playing the national anthem, but some
go on to play and drink back in their club until well into the evening. The
streets of Belfast are almost deserted by mid-evening. Another Twelfth has
come and gone.
On the afternoon of Sunday 7 July 1996, I was back at Drumcree watching
another stand-off. The RUC Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Annesley, had
announced that the Boyne Church Parade would not be allowed down the
Garvaghy Road. There had been a few attempts to set up negotiations during
the year but Orangemen had refused to meet the chairperson of the residents
group on the grounds that he had a terrorist conviction. When the parade
left the church and reached the bottom of the hill they were confronted by
more than just a line of police officers. The forces of the state had prepared
more thoroughly than the previous year. Rows of barbed wire had been
erected across a number of fields on either side of the road and in the distance
a line of army trucks could be seen parked within the perimeter of a school
playing field.
The mood amongst Orangemen and their supporters was relaxed. Some
Orangemen were organising the parking of cars as the narrow country lanes

Drumcree: An Introduction to Parade Disputes

started to clog up with families, journalists and at least two anthropologists.

Many people were in their Sunday best and mothers were negotiating
pushchairs down towards the church. At the church a Tannoy system was
being set up to relay information to the crowd. Down by the Land Rovers a
number of unionist politicians milled around making statements to the press.
A few conversations quickly revealed what many people had suspected, that
the Orangemen had also been preparing. This year the tactic was not to bring
as many Orangemen as possible to Portadown but for the Institution, and
others, to make their presence felt all over the countryside. The previous
week, Orangemen in other parts of Northern Ireland had put in applications
for parades to be held on the 8th, 9th, and 10th, taking routes that were
deliberately close to Catholic areas, to put pressure on the police. They had
decided that if the police wanted a battle of strength, that was what they were
going to get. By the time we left Drumcree on the Sunday evening the roads
into Portadown were already blocked by men wearing masks, men more
than likely belonging to the mid-Ulster unit of the Ulster Volunteer Force
(UVF) an outlawed paramilitary group. Back in Belfast youths were
gathering on street corners preparing to build bonfires on roads. Could the
forces of the state cope or would loyalists be able to face down the police in
demanding their right to march?
Later on the evening of 7 July, a Catholic taxi driver was shot dead outside
Lurgan, a town 10 miles from Portadown. The mid-Ulster UVF were widely
believed to be the perpetrators although no one claimed responsibility.
Mainstream unionist politicians made thinly veiled threats about the further
consequences if the situation was not resolved. Despite this murder, the
loyalist paramilitary cease-fire was still deemed to be in place.
The news the following morning reported a few incidents from the front
line at Drumcree, but, more importantly, road blocks had been set up by
Orangemen and their supporters in Protestant areas all over Northern
Ireland. The police were either unwilling or unable to clear the roads quickly.
On Monday evening Belfast emptied quickly and pubs closed their doors.
Orangemen in the city prepared to go on parade. As the police tried
desperately to place officers near to likely flash-points, of which there are
many in Belfast alone, youngsters took control in particular areas. In
Protestant areas of the city bonfires were lit across roads and bottles and
stones were thrown at the police with relative impunity. Soon, not only
bonfires, but cars, vans, buses and business premises were burning. Some
car showrooms had had the foresight to remove all their cars. Protestantrun businesses in Protestant areas were being attacked by Protestant youths.
I heard of one Orangeman out on parade in east Belfast who returned to find
his car gone as well. In north Belfast there were serious clashes between
youths in both communities. And most worrying of all, some Catholics were
apparently intimidated out of their houses.
The violence became worse on the 9th and 10th, and 1,000 extra British
troops were sent to Northern Ireland. By the end of Wednesday the RUC

Orange Parades

announced that over the previous four days there had been 156 arrests, over
100 incidents of intimidation, 90 civilian and 50 RUC injuries, 758 attacks
on police and 662 plastic baton rounds fired.1 At Drumcree there had been
intermittent violence, a bulldozer had been brought up by the local paramilitaries and the army had placed concrete blocks on the road. Secret
negotiations were taking place between the Northern Ireland Office and
members of the Garvaghy Road Residents Group, and the heads of the main
Churches also tried to broker a deal. By Wednesday evening rumours were
rife that the Chief Constable would change his mind and allow the parade
down the road. On the morning of 11 July it became clear that, with the
threat of thousands of Orangemen arriving in Portadown for the Twelfth,
the parade was to be given access to the Garvaghy Road.
Residents tried to conduct a protest but were forcibly removed from the
road. The parade took place to the sound of a single drum and with hundreds
of Orangemen, not all from Portadown, taking part. This time Trimble and
Paisley steered clear of the overt triumphalism they had displayed the
previous year, but Orangemen all over Northern Ireland were jubilant.
Rioting now started in nationalist areas. Police fired thousands of plastic
bullets and nationalist protesters threw thousands of petrol bombs. One
nationalist protester in Derry was killed when an armoured car hit him.
As the events of Drumcree in 1996 proceeded one particular comment was
repeated by journalists time and again: All this just to walk down one bit of
road? When outsiders watched the events at Drumcree in 1995 and 1996,
or saw reports of the Twelfth parades, they were inevitably left somewhat
bewildered by the apparent importance attached to these parades by people
in Northern Ireland. The right to perform a particular ritual does not usually
become a central political issue in a modern industrial European state. Yet
in 1995 Drumcree was only one, albeit the most serious, of forty-one such
disputes in eighteen different areas of Northern Ireland (Jarman and Bryan
1996: 8593); and over four days during that July week in 1996 the forces
of the British state in Northern Ireland were brought to breaking point over
the right to parade. Thousands of policemen and soldiers were deployed, and
millions of pounds spent, to try to stop around 600 Orangemen from walking
down a particular length of road, that is, from performing a brief and simple
ritual. This book will explain why Orange parades are such a prominent issue
in the politics of Northern Ireland and how the rituals have been, and
continue to be, utilised as a political resource. I will argue that by understanding the nature of ritual action we can better comprehend the dynamics
of political divisions in the north of Ireland.
In tracing the role of ritual in the field of politics I will utilise historical and
anthropological approaches. Abner Cohen argues that the challenge to
social anthropology today is the analysis of this dynamic involvement of
symbols, or of custom, in the changing relationships of power between
individuals and groups (1974: 29). This book takes up that challenge. Since

Drumcree: An Introduction to Parade Disputes

the 1790s the rituals and symbols of Orangeism have played a significant
part in the political development of Ireland. Orangeism is popularly viewed
as reflecting centuries of an unchanging political opposition: the opposition
of Protestants to a predominantly Catholic Ireland. The annual parades
therefore, perhaps more than any other aspect of politics in Ireland, appear
to symbolise stasis. Orangemen claim an uninterrupted tradition of parades
reaching back into the eighteenth century. Many of their opponents and
observers argue that Orangeism is unchanging and that Orangemen are
trapped in their history. Yet Ireland has quite evidently undergone
enormous changes since the end of the seventeenth century when William
of Orange or King Billy as he is affectionately termed by Orangemen
fought King James at the Boyne. The north of Ireland has developed from a
largely rural economy into a complex industrial society. Has the apparent
continuity of Orange parades really been maintained throughout this period?
I will argue that to accept the apparent continuity of ritual and symbol at
face value is to misunderstand the roles of these rituals in politics. The ritual
commemorations and symbols of Orangeism have played a far more complex
and dynamic role in Irish politics than is generally understood. In explaining
the way the functions of symbolic forms might change Abner Cohen provides
the same warning.
To the casual observer this [continuity in symbolic forms] seems to be a manifestation of social conservatism and reaction, but a careful analysis shows that the old
symbols are rearranged to serve new purposes under new political conditions. In
ethnicity, old symbols and ideologies become strategies for the articulation of new
interest groups that struggle for employment, housing, funds and other benefits. In
Northern Ireland old religious symbols are used in a violent struggle over economic
and political issues within the contemporary situation. (Abner Cohen 1974: 39)

This book examines the political control of Orange parades. It contrasts the
appearance of continuity in an annual commemorative occasion, the
Twelfth, with the clear evidence of political changes both within and outside
the event. I will show how various class interests have attempted to control
the rituals. I will argue that the political functions of the ritual vary historically depending upon those class interests, the interests and power of ethnic
and denominational communities, and particularly the position of the British
state in Ireland.
Part of the process of the political control of rituals is the attempt to control
the meaning of symbols. Through both ethnographic and historical material
I will show that the confrontation between social groups in Northern Ireland
often takes the form of a competition over the meaning of particular symbols.
There is a continuous attempt by those in power to impose an understanding of the parades that reinforces their political position. Yet the parades are
large, complex events, drawing together diverse Protestant groups with
diverse political and economic interests. These groups have significantly
different relationships both with the Catholic community and with the

Orange Parades

British state. Under such circumstances particular ritual meanings that

might sustain those in power are not so easily imposed. I will argue that the
ability to utilise ritual events by providing them with a dominant meaning
rarely goes unopposed and that even within the parades there is resistance
to these processes. Most obviously this resistance reflects opposed class
interests within Protestantism. The parades may act as a symbolic reference
for the Protestant community but they also form part of the confrontation
between the powerful and the relatively powerless. More than one interpretation of the events exists and the dominant meanings come from a
negotiation between interests.
This confrontation within ritual is the site of the formation of group
identity, of the labour of representation, which Bourdieu regards as the very
essence of the political process (Bourdieu 1991). It is part of an effort by an
elite to represent a unified community in contrast to other possible representations, such as those of class, denomination or perhaps generation, and
in doing so sustain its own political position. It is through this process that
the ethnic identities in the north of Ireland developed, and that the nature of
a Protestant identity as opposed to a Catholic identity is formulated. The
formation of these identities is not simply a matter of examining the
boundary between Protestant and Catholic but also involves the complex
class relationships that exist within the communities and the relationship
that those communities have with the state.
To examine the dynamic struggle over the meaning of parades, and the
confrontations that are part of identity-formation, I will explore some
historical moments, tracing the history of commemorations of Williams
campaign in Ireland from their origins in the eighteenth century to their
appropriation and use by the Orange Institution in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries. I argue that there is a generalised discourse, emanating
from the landed class attempting to control the Orange Institution, around
what I call respectable Orangeism. The generalisation of respectable
Orangeism has been mentioned by others (Smyth 1995: 52; Jarman 1997a:
67) and whilst I will use it as a term for particular types of discourse
emanating from particular class interests it is also a term used by Orangemen
themselves. By respectability I mean the quality of perceived decency and
the esteem gained from social correctness. And of course what is deemed
respectable is defined by the powerful. This notion of respectability is
similar to the idea of the civilising process as applied to parades in Ireland by
Jarman (1995: 4750, 1997a: 28). It implies a form of control on the
rougher elements of society likely to disturb the status quo. Respectable
Orangemen highlight the religious and traditional meanings of Orangeism
and make claims that the Institution is non-sectarian. This view of
Orangeism has found its clearest and most recent expression in Ruth DudleyEdwards book The Faithful Tribe (1999) in which she argues that the Orange
Order has been misunderstood and misrepresented.

Drumcree: An Introduction to Parade Disputes

From 1795 until the 1870s Orange parades were widely viewed, even by
many Protestants, as rough events that simply served to foster disturbances
and demanded heavy policing. In the period after the 1870s Orangeism
became patronised by many more Ulster landowners, the bourgeoisie and
petit-bourgeoisie in Belfast, parades came to be seen as more respectable
and there was a consistent attempt to marginalise the rougher elements.
Respectable Orangeism reached its zenith with the formation of the state of
Northern Ireland in 1920 and the parades effectively became rituals of state.
I am not arguing that what is deemed respectable has remained constant
over 200 years and I am certainly not suggesting by using the word
respectable that middle-class Orangeism is somehow non-sectarian or
better than that of the working classes. The argument is that discourses of
respectability were bound to develop amongst those whose class interests
were to maintain their position of power with regard to both working-class
Protestants and the Catholic community, but that these political relationships also relied upon the stability of the state. When Orange parades caused
major civil disturbances which required massive policing, then the utility of
Orangeism to those class interests was reduced. It is my contention that, in
attempting to buttress their power, middle-class and capital-owning
Protestants have continually found Orangeism, and particularly the parades,
a useful and yet awkward, unwieldy, even dangerous, resource in the
maintenance of that power.
In the second half of this book I will undertake an ethnographic analysis
of the parades I witnessed in the 1990s in an attempt to reveal the complex
relationships of power, and resistance to power, within the ritual and
between the Protestant community, the forces of the state and the Catholic
community. I will look in more detail at the structure of the Orange Order
and the two other large loyal orders the Black Institution and the
Apprentice Boys of Derry, the annual cycle of parades commonly referred to
as the marching season, the preparations that are made for the Twelfth and
the events that take place on 12 July. In doing so I will point out not only
some of the tensions within unionism, but also the nature of authority within
the Orange Institution and the way in which this authority structure affects
the control of parades. Specifically, I examine the crucial role played in the
parades by marching bands, and suggest that, as broadly independent from
the Orange Institution, they have their own particular interests and input
into the rituals. The political nuances, the contradictions, and the lines of
cleavage that exist within the parades reveal the Twelfth to be a dynamic
political ritual quite in contradiction to the discourse of tradition which
suggests that the rituals have remained unchanged for centuries. That the
discourse of tradition remains dominant is dependent upon the ability of
an Orange and unionist elite to maintain power.
Rituals are by their very nature repetitive performances. They not only
give the appearance of a lack of change but their imagined lack of change is


Orange Parades

often held by participants to legitimate the events. As Connerton suggests,

commemorative rituals:
do not simply imply continuity with the past by virtue of their high degree of formality
and fixity; rather, they have as one of their defining features the explicit claim to be
commemorating such continuity. (1989: 48)

Yet every ritual event is a complex, unique occasion created by specific

individual actions in specific social circumstances and interpreted and reinterpreted by all the actors directly or indirectly involved. The rituals have
complex meanings that are not fixed. They are therefore, to an extent,
adaptable to new circumstances despite their repetitiveness.
This research work is a conjunction of participant observation, ethnographic
interview and text-based investigation. Whilst being aware of the specific
problems with each resource it is not a question of necessarily privileging
one over another rather of using them to cross-reference each other. It is in
the process of cross-referencing that really interesting questions arise. When
a young lad interviewed on radio explains that the Twelfth is all about
throwing stones at Catholics it should not be dismissed because a senior
Orangeman has told me personally that the Twelfth is primarily providing
witness to the Protestant faith. But conversely it would be wrong to suggest
that actually the young lad was telling us the truth and the Orangeman was
hiding what he really believed. What is interesting is asking why these
different discourses exist and how they work in relation to one another.
The whole distinction between knowledgeable and unreliable informants can be
revealed for what it is: not a reflection of privileged access to real existing meaning,
but a local construction put on a contest of interpretations. Why should anthropologists listen only to winners of that contest? If there is no single underlying meaning
to reveal then the anthropologists account does not have to be consistent: to
represent consistency when in fact there may be confusion and diversity has been a
tempting short-cut to something which doesnt exist! In thinking of symbolism as a
code, anthropologists miss the fact that in offering interpretations of a ritual their
informants are actually being creative (Humphrey and Laidlaw 1994: 264).

Whereas many anthropologists who have approached ritual have been

faced with a paucity of historical information or a relatively short time run,
I was faced with sources on Williamite commemorations dating back to
1691 and have been able to spend five years watching a large number of
events. What follows is an attempt to utilise diverse sources to allow a better
understanding of some particular ritual practices.



From February 1967 a civil rights movement developed in Northern Ireland.

The campaign concentrated on discrimination in employment and public
housing allocation, and gerrymandering of local government elections,
however, the major form of protest through which the campaign was
conducted was the holding of demonstrations. A demonstration in the centre
of Belfast, Derry or Dungannon had significance beyond particular issues; it
involved marching in areas and on routes which since the founding of
Northern Ireland in 1920 had been dominated by the parades of Orangemen
and Apprentice Boys. Public expressions of Irish nationalism during this
period had been restricted to predominantly Catholic areas, often to small
country villages (Jarman and Bryan 1998). As such, civil rights demonstrations, whilst not directly proposing a nationalist agenda, publicly
challenged the unionist political status quo through the holding of a form of
political ritual which until then had largely been the preserve of unionism.
Particular sections of the Protestant community, most notably groups
organised by Ian Paisley, held protests, usually occupying town and city
centres, the RUC a proportion of whom were Orangemen then blocked the
civil rights marches and confrontations between the police and civil rights
activists ensued. Between 1967 and 1969 these increasingly violent confrontations began to attract the attention of the worlds media, to the
increasing disquiet of the British government. By 1969, rather than asking
questions about the nature of democracy in Northern Ireland, parts of the
Catholic community were violently defending their areas from the state.
Political demonstrations are common all over the world but there are
particular occasions, in particular circumstances when such protests
question the fundamental nature of the state. The Northern Ireland civil
rights movement was in part drawing upon political movements in the
United States (Dooley 1998), but the context in which the demonstrations
were taking place was quite different. The parade and demonstration carried
with it resonances of particular importance to the majority Protestant
ethnic community. To understand some of the dynamics involved I first
want to explore ethnicity politics and ritual particularly with reference to
Northern Ireland.


Orange Parades


In the main, individuals in industrial society live more diverse, differentiated,
lives than those in non-industrial and pre-industrial societies, and their
identities cannot easily be defined in terms of a family group, village or tribe.
Dispersed and diverse communities are defined through symbols flags,
songs, commemorative occasions, coins, passports, uniforms, football shirts,
the wearing of insignia and so on. One could even argue that the more
internally diverse the community, the more elaborate and regular the
attempts to define it. It is not that communities have to share an understanding of these symbols, but simply that they share allegiance. These are
imagined communities (Anderson 1983), or socially constructed
communities (Anthony Cohen 1985). A political community will be
constructed around a set of characteristics geography, language, economic
conditions, history, sex, etc. which in particular social conditions allows
that group to constitute itself over and above other possible groups. The
1991 census in Northern Ireland suggests that around 45.6 per cent of
people identify themselves as Protestant whilst 38.4 per cent identify
themselves as Catholics in a population of 1,600,000. Yet being Protestant
and Catholic in Northern Ireland means more than simply identifying oneself
with a particular Church or group of Churches, they are applied on the basis
of the community one is born into, regardless of the specific religious belief
an individual might hold. Indeed, an individual with no religious belief at all
will still be perceived as coming from one or other of the communities unless
they have particular characteristics that seem to exclude them, such as
coming from one of the relatively small ethnic groups in Northern Ireland
such as the Chinese. The Protestant community, or Protestant identity, is
formed from a set of shifting characteristics including a particular history in
Ireland and Ulster, a sense of being British in an Irish context, a sense of
identifying with the reformed faith as opposed to Roman Catholicism, and a
political identification with the United Kingdom particularly as a country
with a Protestant monarchy. These characteristics are represented through
a range of symbols such as the Union flag, the Northern Ireland flag, King
William of Orange, the Protestant Martyrs, the six counties of Northern
Ireland, the open Bible and crown, the harp with a crown on top, the red
hand, the colour orange, the colours red white and blue, the blue football
shirts worn by Glasgow Rangers and Linfield football clubs, the British
national anthem, the hymn Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past, the Harland
and Wolff shipyard, the Battle of the Boyne, the Battle of the Somme, the
wearing of a poppy, etc. These symbols are utilised at different times, in a
variety of contexts by some or most in the Protestant community and by
those outside wishing to depict the Protestant community (Bryson and
McCartney 1994). The meaning of the symbols varies, indeed is contested,
throughout the community dependent upon age, sex, class, denomination,

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual


geography, political party, etc. All of these symbols appear in some form or
another in Orange parades.
Ethnic identity is formed through internal definition and redefinition by
the community and by external definition and redefinition in the processes
of everyday interaction, both formal and informal (Jenkins 1997: 5273).
Burtons term telling accurately describes the process that people in
Northern Ireland go through. Telling constitutes the syndrome of signs by
which Catholics and Protestants arrive at religious ascription in their
everyday interactions (Burton 1978: 4). People brought up in Northern
Ireland learn how to tell; those who come to live in Northern Ireland soon
start to pick up the same skills. On rare occasions such a skill has been a
matter of life or death. Usually it is undertaken so that conventions of
politeness can be sustained amongst individuals who do not know each other
well (Harris 1972: 148). The divisiveness of politics and religion means that
conversations surrounding those subjects are usually only started when
people are in an environment they are comfortable with and with people
they know well. Individuals attempt to tell the religious and political
background of people they meet so as to be able to conduct conversations
that do not embarrass. There are many ways that people tell. Most
commonly they do so through names, but also by means of schools attended,
speech and accent, home address, style of dress, occupation, sports played
and teams supported.
The complexities and tensions within ethnic identification in Northern
Ireland become clear when the heterogeneous nature of the communities is
examined (Ruane and Todd 1996: 4983). The Protestant community is
divided by denomination, the largest being the Presbyterian Church making
21.4 per cent of the total population of Northern Ireland, followed by the
Church of Ireland (17.7 per cent), the Methodist Church (3.8 per cent) and
a wide range of smaller Churches. Major theological divisions exist not only
between the Protestant denominations but also within particular Churches
where historically liberal and fundamentalist groups have competed for
control (Bruce 1986; Campbell 1991). As will be discussed, the Orange Order
can be seen as having provided an arena in which men from diverse Church
backgrounds can come together although pressure from fundamentalists to
oppose ecumenical moves within the Protestant Churches has led to
constant internal political tensions.
Research also points to a strong sense of local identity. This is particularly
true in rural areas where individuals identify with their village or townland
(Leyton 1974), and often attribute conflict to the influence of outsiders or
particularly bad people who do not share community values (McFarlane
1986: 97). Suspicions within localities can be enormous and it would be
foolish to argue that the sense of locality, even in rural areas, overrides ethnic
divisions, nevertheless, locality can provide a sense of community which cuts
across these divisions. In urban working-class areas the communities are
not nearly as mixed and therefore the sense of locality is more closely linked


Orange Parades

to an ethnic and political identity (Boal 1982; Jarman 1993; Doherty and
Poole 1995), but there is still a strong sense of locality in such areas.
Protestants from the Donegall Pass area of Belfast may see themselves as
different from Protestants from Sandy Row, despite the areas being separated
only by a road (Holloway 1994).
By far the most important variable in ethnic relations is social class. The
primacy of social class in understanding Northern Ireland may be debated,
but no ethnography can ignore it (Coulter 1999: 61100). Not only do class
differences divide ethnic communities, and those class divisions within the
Protestant community will be a central topic of this book, but they also
clearly affect the relationships between communities. Most distinctly, the
forms of expression and political engagement of the communities are very
much dependent upon class interests (Bell 1990: 21). Working-class areas
are more geographically divided with clearly visible boundaries. The more
residentially mixed areas of Belfast tend to be middle class (Doherty and Poole
1995). Any tour around the streets of Belfast quickly reveals that the overt
political expressions, such as flags, murals and graffiti are found almost
exclusively in working-class areas (Rolston 1991; Jarman 1992, 1993,
1997a). Endogamy is a widespread and important feature of the ethnic divide
in Northern Ireland (Harris 1972: 1436; Ruane and Todd 1996: 65) but
there is at least a suggestion, even if it is not backed up by much evidence,
that mixed marriage is more common amongst the middle classes (Morgan
et al. 1996: 5). The energies that have gone into setting up integrated
education have tended to come from the middle classes although it is
debatable what difference, if any, integrated schooling makes (Whyte 1990:
445). Leisure pursuits with a more middle-class basis tend to show less
concern over ethnic identity. For instance there are all-Ireland rugby and
hockey representative teams, and all-Ireland competitions. Soccer, on the
other hand, has no all-Ireland team except, significantly, at university level.
Within the Northern Ireland football leagues, most teams are clearly
perceived as Catholic and Protestant, even in lower amateur divisions, and
the support of rival Glasgow teams, Celtic and Rangers, is one of the most
significant symbols of identity for Catholics and Protestants (Sugden and
Bairner 1986; Whyte 1990: 389). In terms of socialising, the Belfast pubs
liable to be most mixed are those in middle-class south Belfast. In short, there
is considerable evidence to suggest that in terms of social interaction the
middle classes are more integrated than the working classes (Larsen 1982a:
1536; McFarlane 1986: 100; Whyte 1990: 38).
Much ethnographic and other social research has therefore sought to
understand not a simplistic ethnic division, but the apparent divisions within
communities and particularly those aspects of Northern Ireland, denomination, locality, class and the consequent value systems, that both cut across
the ethnic boundary and create diverse political interests within ethnic
groups. It will become clear in this book that any understanding of the ethnic
boundary between what are termed the Protestant and Catholic

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual


communities requires an examination of the changing economic relationships between those communities and within those communities. The
ramifications of changing interests are found in the terms used to describe
political identification as well as the plethora of political parties particularly
found in the Protestant community since the collapse of Stormont. I will use
the term Protestant to denote ethnic identification but closely related, and
for some inseparable, are the terms unionism and loyalism which denote
a claim to remaining part of the United Kingdom and showing loyalty to
Britain or the British crown. But there are further complications. The term
Unionism, was originally associated with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
but now there are other unionist parties: Ian Paisleys Democratic Unionist
Party (DUP) and the Alliance Party, which were launched in the early
1970s, and numerous smaller unionist groups which have appeared subsequently. All unionists can be termed loyalist while Loyalists are supporters
of the paramilitary groups the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the Ulster
Defence Association (UDA) and the more recent breakaway Loyalist
Volunteer Force (LVF). By implication loyalism carries with it a suggestion
of being working class. Here I use only the general terms unionism,
unionist and loyalism and loyalist. The UVF and the UDA have political
wings which have become more organised and more popular in the 1990s
as the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) and the Ulster Democratic Party
(UDP) respectively. Political unity has often been problematic within the
Protestant community and never more so than in the 1990s (Cochrane
1997). In June 1998, during the elections for the new assembly after the
Good Friday Agreement, one senior Armagh Orangeman was so incensed
by UUP leader David Trimble signing the agreement that he stood against
Trimble in the Upper Bann constituency, on his own, under the ticket United
In practice the terms Protestant unionist and loyalist are used in some
discourses almost interchangeably, as are Catholic and nationalist. But,
that is not to say the common use of these terms is without strategy. Actors
may describe themselves as Protestant in particular social situations and
loyalist in others. I heard one tale from Drumcree of a Church of Ireland
minister asking a man on the hill what the situation meant to him as a
Protestant. His indignant answer was that he wasnt a Protestant he was a
loyalist. In contrast, on the Ormeau Road in Belfast where there has been an
intense dispute over a number of parades since 1992 one spokesperson for
loyalists in Ballynafeigh, when asked why Orangemen should be allowed
down the road, consistently argues that the parades are simply part of the
Protestant religion.
It is important to be aware of the heterogeneity that seems to be in conflict
with ethnic identification. Ethnic identification exists at the level of the
community but it is also part of the individual, or the self. For it is in understanding the sense of self, and not assuming merely a simplistic automatic
group consciousness, that one begins to understand the political ramifica-


Orange Parades

tions of communal representations, the intensity of ethnic confrontations.

Ethnic identification is of course social, but also very personal. Ethnicity is
portrayed through common yet multi-vocal symbolic forms, allowing
common allegiance where on other levels there exists heterogeneity (Cohen
1994: 121, 13367) but it is precisely in the space between self and
community that ethnicity is negotiated and where other forms of political
community can develop. The ethnic categories of Protestant and Catholic
dominate social relationships in Northern Ireland at all levels. Yet they are
not all-encompassing and are constantly being worked, understood and
developed by different interests. Bourdieu has described this process as the
labour of representation (Bourdieu 1991: 130).


The community is often understood in terms of fraternity and comradeship,
nevertheless we cannot understand the development of a community local,
ethnic or national without analysing the dynamic involvement with power
relations (Abner Cohen 1969). Bourdieu has argued that in the social construction of reality we cannot construct anything we like but must construct
reality within structural constraints. He argues that in the social space there
are practical groups which the social scientist can see as existing on the
basis of a groups shared position. But that is not the same as an instituted
group (class, ethnic group, nation, etc.) which:
presupposes the construction of the principle of classification capable of producing a
set of distinctive properties which characterise the set of members in this group, and
capable also of annulling the set of non-pertinent properties which part or all of its
members possess in other contexts (e.g. properties of nationality, age, or sex) and
which might serve as a basis for another constitution. (Bourdieu 1991: 130)

Every group is the site of a struggle to impose legitimate principles of group

construction. Any attempt at a new division must reckon on resistance from
those who perceive an interest in presenting alternative relations.
The political labour of representation (not only in words or theories but also in
demonstrations, ceremonies or any other form of symbolisation of division or
opposition) gives the objectivity of public discourse and exemplary practice to a way
of seeing or experiencing the social world that was previously relegated to the state
of practical disposition of a tacit and often confused experience (unease, rebelliousness, etc.). It thus enables agents to discover within themselves common properties
that lie within the diversity of particular situations which isolate, divide and
immobilise, and construct their social identity on the basis of characteristics of
experiences that seem totally dissimilar so long as the principle of pertinence by virtue
of which they could be constructed as indices of membership of the same class was
lacking. (Bourdieu 1991: 130)

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual


Orange parades are part of a labour of representation. They are public events,
frequently involving large numbers of people, frequently involving people
from a wide range of social backgrounds, including people from diverse
Protestant Churches and many non-church attendees, abstainers and heavy
drinkers, young teenage girls dressed in the latest fashion and old men in
dark suits and bowler hats, supporters of at least half a dozen different
political parties, young men carrying paramilitary emblems and religious
ministers carrying Bibles, politicians and party-goers. Individuals taking part
claim the parades to be traditional cultural events, religious, political and
also carnival in nature. The banners carried support images reflecting on a
wide range of historical, religious and political events and individuals, as well
as pictures of different rural and urban, religious and secular, landmarks.
Orange parades, the sash and the bowler hat, have come to represent the
Ulster Protestant to the rest of the world, and within local politics the parades
have been of such importance that even the unionist politicians who attempt
to build a career without being in the Orange Order or participating in the
events would have to treat the parades with respect. To understand how the
parades work to represent a diverse community we need to consider how
rituals work.

Rituals are good to study. It is no accident that they played such a prominent
part in Durkheims sociology, since they seem to exist beyond the individual
and to represent the group (Durkheim 1915). Researcher, spectator and
participant alike seem to be aware that they are involved in something,
which is different from everyday action. But ritual is not easy to define (Lukes
1975), indeed, Goody (1977) argues that the diversity of uses for the term
ritual severely flaws it as an informative anthropological category. At one
end of the spectrum ritual is seen as a form of standardised social action. As
such a footballer may be described as ritually tying his left boot before his
right boot. DaMatta (1991: 504) suggests that all social life is a ... rite
and a ritual is that bit that is dislocated and thus transformed into symbols.
Alternatively, rituals are seen as occasions which always have reference to
mystical beings or powers (Turner 1967: 19). Why should a definition have
remained so elusive? One suggestion that has recently come into favour is
that ritual falls between two categories action and meaning (Bloch 1986;
Bell 1992; Parkin 1992; Humphrey and Laidlaw 1994). Ritual can be
analysed as both an action and an expression, as something that is done and
something that is said. It requires active participation, it entails individuals
doing something although they may not know why they do it and yet it
also seems to contain meaning, to say something. Ritual has been
approached either by viewing its main function as developing group
cohesion (Radcliffe-Brown 1952), in which case its meaning is of secondary


Orange Parades

importance, or as something that can be read as a text, as a form of communication (Leach 1976: 45).
The argument that ritual is a particular form of activity, falling between
an action and a statement, has been made implicitly or explicitly by a
number of anthropologists (Lewis 1980; Ahern 1981; Tambiah 1985; Bloch
1986; Parkin 1992; Humphrey and Laidlaw 1994). Ritual is a formalised,
apparently standardised, and structured action but then so is much of social
life. It is invariably rule-bound and as such appears to be unchanging. Ritual
gives the impression of continuity. Individuals taking part in a ritual subject
themselves to rules to the authority of the ritual. But then all social life is
rule-bound (DaMatta 1991: 201). Are we suggesting the individual actors
are not involved in creating the events, are they not active? What makes
ritual different from other rule-bound action? Perhaps, that it has meaning?
But then other actions have meaning, and it is possible for individuals to
participate in a ritual without understanding a meaning (Lewis 1980). Does
ritual have a particular religious or spiritual association? To suggest that it
does is to argue that many secular, and nationalist, commemorations are
not rituals when they clearly seem to be of the same order as religious events.
Humphrey and Laidlaw have attempted a way out of the impasse by trying
to define ritual not by examining its function or interpretation but by seeing
ritual action as a quality which action can come to have (1994: 64). The
key is ritual commitment. By this they mean that actors are prepared to commit
themselves to a particular stance with respect to his or her action (1994: 88).
They argue that ritualised action is non-intentional. Not that the actors do
not intend to act, but the identity, or meaning of the act does not rely upon
the intention or lack of intention of the actor; and those ritual acts are
prescribed in a particular way, they are rule-bound and established. Or, as
Humphrey and Laidlaw repeatedly put it, in ritual one both is, and is not, the
author of ones acts (1994: 99 and 106). Such acts are perceived as discrete,
named entities, with their own characters and histories, and it is for this
reason that we call such acts elemental or archetypal (1994: 89). Crucially,
because ritualised acts are felt, by those who perform them, to be external,
they are also apprehensible. That is, they are available for a further reassimilation to the actors intentions, attitudes and beliefs (1994: 89). By
distinguishing ritual acts, or ritualisation, from meaning or function we
can see different sorts of ritual events, secular and religious, communicative
and non-communicative (1994: 73), as part of the same category.
Ritual action can be religious, or not; performed by specialists, or not; performed
regularly, or not; express the social order, or not. . . . there are life-cycle rituals, rituals
of rebellion, imitative rites, rites of office, rites of commemoration, rites of purification, rites of affliction, worship, divination, sacrifice, namings, inaugurations, and so
on. (Humphrey and Laidlaw 1994: 71)

As a clearly rule-bound, institutionalised action that actors engage in, it has

a tendency to draw upon a sense of continuity. The actor is effectively buying

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual


in to something that exists. Ritual action becomes comprehended by the

actors as external, objectified, and thus apprehensible it can be
understood, perceived and seized or appropriated.


I am most interested in the way people exercise power, and resist power, by
means of ritual, how ritual action becomes a political resource, part of the
labour of representation. The link between ritual, political power and
resistance is the focus of much recent work on ritual (Kertzer 1988; Kelly
and Kaplan 1990). As part of the labour of representation, rituals are capable
of turning the possibility of a practical group into an instituted group, or
community, be it a social class, ethnic group or perhaps nation. Ritual helps
to create solidarity within groups, often in the absence of consensus, provides
access to political legitimacy and moulds peoples understanding of the
political universe (Kertzer 1988: 14). Ritual action provides the objectification of politics, constituted and invested in symbols, in Bourdieus terms,
cultural or symbolic capital (Bourdieu 1990: 11118, 1991: 72) that
enables and sustains, but can also resist, the legitimisation of communities.
Importantly, symbols are multi-vocal, multi-referential, multi-dimensional
or polysemic, containing layers of meaning (Turner 1967, 1968). The multivocal qualities of symbols suggest that they do not communicate a single
proposition, but rather a collection of meanings, and that those meanings
are not static (Abner Cohen 1979; Morley 1980; Kertzer 1988). Symbols
are invented, their political value or importance can rise and diminish over
time, different groups can compete for ownership over them, and they can go
out of existence (Harrison 1995: 25572). Yet rituals and their associated
symbols can give the impression of unity and continuity during periods of
change and as such they provide a resource in relations of power.
Maurice Bloch in his thought-provoking analysis of ritual circumcision
and politics amongst the Merina of Madagascar examines many of those
aspects of ritual that I have already discussed. Rituals are formalised, they
are repetitious, they are only weakly propositional, and have a fixity or lack
of adaptability (1986: 184). As such they construct an image of timelessness, and turn specific events into general occurrences.
Rituals reduce the unique occurrence so that they become a part of a greater fixed and
ordered unchanging whole; this whole is constructed identically by every ritual
performed in a hazy, weakly propositional manner; it appears to have always existed,
and will always exist. Because of this, ritual makes the passage of time, the change
in personnel and the change in situation, inexpressible and therefore irrelevant.
(Bloch 1986: 184)

Blochs analysis, focused as it is upon religious rituals in non-industrial

societies, would have to be modified somewhat for the more secular events


Orange Parades

that I will concentrate on. For instance, the suggestion that ritual appears
to have always existed is clearly not strictly true of commemorative events,
but the sense in which rituals defy time I think holds true (Myerhoff 1984;
Kertzer 1988; Tonkin and Bryan 1996). I also believe that Bloch overestimates, or at least poorly defines, the fixity of ritual by not paying enough
attention to the polysemic nature of symbols. The ritual might appear to
remain constant, and therefore defy time, but it is crucial to realise how the
unchanging symbols are being understood. Bloch argues that it is striking
that the transformation of the circumcision ritual, from village-based to state
and royal event, did not much change the symbolic content (1986: 140)
and that the ritual has resisted direct modification in response to politicoeconomic change that many theories in the social sciences would have led
us to expect (1986: 193). Yet, as Bloch points out, whilst the symbols may
remain the same they are being utilised to mean something different within
the developing political relationships. Nevertheless, Bloch develops a
persuasive argument around how rituals work politically to legitimate power
and why different holders of power, in his case the elders in the villages, and
later the Merina royal family, were able to appropriate that power and yet
maintain ritual legitimacy over time. Ritual is a vague, weakly propositional, construction of timelessness available for use by those in power
(Bloch 1986: 191).
If ritual legitimises political power, and is therefore utilised by those in
power, then we need to explain the imperative behind the relatively
powerless taking part. To understand this we have to come to terms with
identity and self. Bloch suggests that among the Merina Traditional
authority implies a total order of which both superior and inferior are a part
though in different degree ... [in accepting traditional authority] one is
aligning oneself with a virtue that is believed to be, in the end, the source of
ones own true self (1986: 16970). Within the ritual, all Merina, rulers
and ruled, are depicted as conquerors as well as conquered (1986: 1923).
Do rituals that legitimise power in ethnic or national environments substantially differ from this?
Ethnic and national identity cuts across differentials of class and power.
Unionist politicians repeat phrases suggesting a unity of identity time and
again: We are the people, We are Protestant, we are British and we are from
Ulster. But those political mantras do reflect a sense of belonging that people
in the community feel. It is therefore not surprising that people should make
a ritual commitment to events that are understood to be part of an individuals own identity and sense of self. Rituals play a fundamental part in the
creation of a sense of community. But it is important to understand that in
helping to create or imagine the community the labour of representation we do not see ritual as simply functioning to bind an unthinking group.
In representational accounts of ritual, the events tend to be described as if their participants are so choreographed that the prescribed orthodoxy of their behaviour

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual


displaces their freedom or necessity to think for themselves as if they have become
automata. (Anthony Cohen 1994: 20)

I wish to stress that representations of the community through ritual are

labour-intensive, involving individual actors in specific positions, some with
more power than others, and reflecting their complex identities. Representations of the Protestant community have never been unproblematic and
remain part of a worked process.
The power of ritual to represent has meant that it has remained at the
centre of modern politics. Ethnic and national groups, as well as the state,
utilise different forms of rituals, from carnivals to funerals, to represent the
community. Possibly the most common form, and the form I will in the main
be discussing, are commemorative events (Connerton 1989). It has been
suggested that major public commemorations in Western society only really
started to develop amongst urban middle and working classes towards the
end of the eighteenth century (Gillis 1994: 70), and particular social and
political changes led to a distinct development of traditional rituals in the
second half of the nineteenth century (Hobsbawm 1983: 263307). The
history of Orange parades does not contradict this to any great extent as early
eighteenth-century Boyne commemorations in Dublin seem to be dominated
by the upper classes. The development of Boyne commemorations in the
north of Ireland are contemporary with both the American and French
Revolutions and with the development of more capitalist social relationships,
and there were further developments in the 1870s partly due to the enfranchisement of the working class.
Commemorative rituals are not organised by an elite or the state only to
inculcate the masses with a collective ethnic or national consciousness. The
relationship between the community and the rituals is not static but
negotiated. Rituals that the state has originally opposed can prove so
obstinate that states are forced to utilise them. This has been the case in
Eastern Europe. Lane, viewing ritual in terms of social control, and Binns,
preferring the term ceremonial, both examine the development of ritual in
the Soviet Union, noting the changing relationship between the state and
life-cycle rituals in the 1960s (Binns 197980; Lane 1981). Roth has noted
similar developments in Bulgaria, suggesting that the life-cycle rituals are
the result of a negotiation between the political elite and the folk (Roth
1990: 10). Mach has examined the development of the May Day rituals in
Poland, charting their pre-war working-class origins, their development and
routinisation under the post-war communist state along with more popular
ludic events, and their deroutinisation as open conflict developed in Poland
in the 1980s. The communist state found it increasingly difficult to organise
the May Day parade and the Solidarity trade union organised events utilising
Catholic and national symbols. In Poland the communist state took over the
workers holiday and transformed it into a state celebration. Eventually,
however, the workers managed to get it back as a form of anti-state protest


Orange Parades

(1992: 60). Jakubowska (1990) has noted a similar use of national rituals
and symbols in Poland. The role of ritualisation in the political field, in the
formation of ethnic and national groups, and in the legitimisation of the state,
is dynamic. Not only can rituals be used to oppose power but even within
state-organised events there may develop forms of resistance to power.


In highly stratified societies, elites must work harder to foster symbolic systems among
people whose experience insidiously undermines them, for the best that elites can
hope to do is shore up a predominant symbolic construction of how society should
work. They can never eliminate all loose ends, all contradictions in the symbols
themselves, nor all vestiges of alternative symbol systems. Fragments of other systems,
as well as internal contradictions, are forever threatening to replace discredited views
of the political universe. (Kertzer 1988: 177)

Resistance, in the context of ritual, can either take place within events that
apparently maintain a ruling elite or can develop through alternative rituals.
Anthropology has long shown an interest in ritualised opposition to
colonialism in the form of cargo cults and other millenarian movements.
Scott has developed an interesting argument that the more dominant the
power exercised, the more stereotyped and ritualistic the interaction between
dominant and dominated becomes (1990: 3). He argues that what he calls
the public transcript of the relationship between the powerful and weak
does not reveal the totality of that relationship. Disguise and surveillance
play an important role in relations of power. Public appearance will be
dominated by the self-image of the dominant and will rarely be opposed. This
self-image in Orangeism is what I will consistently describe as respectable
Orangeism. The hidden transcript will be found during off-stage performances by the less powerful. And Scott also suggests that there are elements
of disguised and more anonymous forms of public resistance often in the form
of rumour, gossip, songs, rituals and euphemisms. He describes these as lowprofile forms of resistance (1990: 18). These elements of domination and
resistance, of the discourse of the powerful and the resistance of the
powerless, are particularly pertinent to understanding the Twelfth. As the
power of elites and masses has fluctuated over the past 300 years, the nature
of the Twelfth as a ritual occasion has changed. Scott argues that part of the
discourse of the dominant is often the idea of unanimity amongst the elite
and consent amongst the masses, helping to leave less political space for the
less powerful to exploit (1990: 5566). Indeed, Scott uses an analogy that is
particularly apt for my present purposes.
Expanding the notion of unanimity, I then argue that dominant elites attempt to
portray social action in the public transcript as, metaphorically, a parade, thus
denying, by omission, the possibility of autonomous social action by subordinates.

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual


Inferiors who actually assemble at their own initiative are typically described as mobs
or rabble. (Scott 1990: 456)

The history of Orangeism is one in which elites, utilising parades, try to

control autonomous social action, and, if unable to do that, then try to
control the interpretation of that action. An effective facade of cohesion thus
augments the apparent power of elites, thereby presumably affecting the calculations that subordinates might make about the risk of non-compliance
(Scott 1990: 56). In the chapters that follow some of the ways that the elite
try to control events become clear, even to the extent of describing those not
performing as they should as hangers-on, in other words a rabble. As much
as possible, therefore, the elites will try to deal with anything that disturbs
the smooth surface of euphemised power (Scott 1990: 56). Sanctions and
incentives are always brought to bear by those in a dominant position upon
those who might resist (Scott 1990: 12834). The parade has great potential
for the legitimising of power, but large gatherings also suggest a potential, in
anonymity and in the power of the collective, for those resisting power (Scott
1990: 66).
Strategic resistance to domination, utilising ritual, can take up many
forms. For example, youth cultures can act to negotiate, subvert and oppose
the dominant culture and meanings (Hall and Jefferson 1976; Willis 1977;
Jenkins 1983). Des Bell (1990) has produced the most important interpretation of the complexities of parades and loyalist political culture. His
examination of loyalist bands from the Waterside in Londonderry provides
an insight into the dynamics of sectarianism and youth culture in workingclass areas. Bell shows that the development of working-class cultural forms
is based, not only on the sectarian division within Northern Ireland, but on
class and generational lines. The creation of a particular style of marching
and playing in parades by blood and thunder bands Bell sees as a reaction to
the marginalised position of working-class youths in the Protestant
community. Members of these bands do not simply copy respectable
Orangeism and indeed are often scornful of the Orange Order and some
unionist leaders. Just as powerful groups maintain strategies of distinction
(Bourdieu 1985) so subordinate groups have strategies of resistance, albeit
from necessity often disguised (Scott 1990). The form of that resistance will
vary. Rituals, as well as providing an avenue for the powerful, also provide
anonymity and disguise. They are not simply resources for the powerful and
indeed at times may become a burden for the powerful.
No ritual occasions seem to encapsulate these possibilities better than the
carnival (Bakhtin 1984; DaMatta 1991; Boissevain 1992; Poppi 1992;
Cowan 1992; Abner Cohen 1980, 1993). Abner Cohens analysis of the
Notting Hill Carnival, held every August in west London, provides a good
example of how rituals can be examined as complex and dynamic events
within a diverse and changing political and economic environment (Abner
Cohen 1980, 1993). Viewed historically, as well as ethnographically, the


Orange Parades

Carnival developed in form from an English fair with poly-ethnic participation in the mid-1960s, to a Trinidadian carnival with steel bands and
masquerading, incorporating in the mid-1970s the Jamaican reggae
Rastafarian movements as part of the social and political development of
Londons West Indian community. In the later 1980s, commercialism and
changing policing techniques effectively introduced new restrictions on the
event, reducing the number of sound systems and the numbers following
the masquerade bands. A report from accountants Coopers & Lybrand
recommended that the event be run as a profit-making venture, raising
suspicions amongst some organisers that the long-term effect would be to
turn Carnival into a Lord Mayors Show. Debate raged as to who owned
Carnival and there were consequent discussions on the origin of the event.
By the early 1990s, there was a general feeling amongst some organisers
that the Carnival had been contained and controlled. It had in a sense been
lost to those people who originally saw it as belonging to them. All these
developments in the Carnival related to local and more general social,
economic and political changes. The development of the Notting Hill
Carnival not only brought tensions with the state, particularly in the form of
widely publicised confrontations with the police, but also produced internal
tensions, specifically between the users of reggae sound systems and those in
steel bands.
The struggle for power utilised existing cultural forms and introduces new
cultural forms and as a result, nearly all cultural forms are politicised and
contested (Abner Cohen 1993: 126). Abner Cohen, rather than highlight
only the integrative and harmonious Carnival, describes an event which
appears full of Scotts hidden transcripts. Resistance can be direct but need
not always be.
. . . as history repetitively demonstrates, a carnivals potentialities for fostering
criticism, protest, subversion and violence are equally great, and at the best of times
the celebration is poised between compliance and subversion. On the whole central
authorities are always anxious to contain and even abolish it, but once tradition is
established in a polity it becomes difficult for them to do so. (Abner Cohen 1993: 130)

Cohens work on the Carnival provides an interesting comparison for a

number of reasons. Orange parades show carnivalesque and ludic elements.
This is despite the parades Protestant cultural background, and despite their
militaristic elements, and despite the popular image of the carnival as being
all-inclusive as opposed to the Orange parades Protestant exclusivity. The
parades overturn many of the normal roles, they allow for play acting, for
dance, for masked performance, for excessive drinking, for sexual licence,
for mimicry and satire and for communitas. It is interesting that the more carnivalesque elements of the parades derive from the more working-class
elements and are often those most criticised by respectable Orangemen.
Further, the relationships between the ritual, the state, and an ethnic
identity, that are brought out in Abner Cohens work are also present in the

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual


case of Orange parades. There are historical moments when the state and
ruling classes encourage and control the events, and other moments when
they abandon the events altogether or attempt to suppress them.


Bloch argues that to understand how ritual works it is not sufficient to
understand its synchronic functions or its symbolic structure, but it is also
important to understand its historical destiny (1986: 11). Bloch proceeds
to show, using limited historical resources, how the circumcision ritual,
despite remaining relatively unchanged, served to legitimise different loci of
power at different moments in time. In the late eighteenth century and early
nineteenth century it acted to legitimise the position of village elders; through
the nineteenth century it became important in legitimising the power of the
developing royal state; towards the end of the nineteenth century Merina
religion, under colonial pressures and Christian influences, took on a
millenarian aspect, leading to the royal family abandoning the ritual; and
in the 1960s it began to emerge within new political alliances in Madagascar
(Bloch 1986: 15767). Because the ritual can legitimate any authority, it
actually legitimates the authority of those who have the coercive potential
to insist on being considered as elders or kings (Bloch 1986: 1901). Such
an historical analysis, when combined with a symbolic approach, reveals
the relationship between ritual, its ideology and politico-economic circumstances. This allows Bloch to conclude that rituals ability to be recovered by
different forms of authority is due to its vague and weakly propositional construction of timelessness (Bloch 1986: 184).
Historians have been posing important questions in understanding ritual.
The most pertinent and influential example was a collection of essays edited
by Hobsbawm and Ranger on the invention of tradition (1983). By
invented tradition Hobsbawm means a process of formalisation and ritualisation, characterised by a reference to the past, if only by imposing
repetition (Hobsbawm 1983: 4). Such invented traditions, argues
Hobsbawm, are particularly prevalent when society is rapidly weakened and
old social patterns are destroyed (1983: 45). Hobsbawms invented
traditions, particularly the development of parades and ritualised mass
gatherings, are largely those in Europe after the 1870s, those connected to
the emergence of mass politics and the growing influence of middle-class
elites (Hobsbawm 1983: 2678, 291303). Twelfth parades were similarly
affected by the growth of mass democratic politics and particularly the
enfranchisement of some of the working class and involvement of the middle
classes in the Orange Institution. Yet, although Hobsbawm does not rule out
invented traditions in other periods, I am still left wondering about many
rituals, such as the Twelfth, which had a clear existence before the 1870s.
Hobsbawm distinguishes custom which is established practice, flexible in


Orange Parades

substance, depending upon conditions from tradition which is fixed and

formalised calling upon historical legitimisation (1983: 2). In this sense
custom is more like Webers ingrained habituation (Weber 1968: 25).
Somewhat confusingly Hobsbawm and others suggest custom is more
common in traditional societies, these societies apparently being ones that
do not change (Hobsbawm 1983; Cannadine and Price 1987). Is it useful to
differentiate customary ritual from traditional ritual? Let me make a tentative
suggestion. The important point seems to be the source of legitimisation.
Tradition is being used in two senses. The first is as a term referring to a model
of authority in the Weberian sense of appealing to principles of a gerontocratic or patriarchal nature (Weber 1968: 22641). These are Hobsbawms
traditional societies. Here ritual might be more usefully described as
customary; in Bourdieus formulations, doxa the naturalised way of understanding has not been opposed and therefore orthodoxy does not need to
be developed to oppose heterodoxy (Bourdieu 1977: 1679). For instance,
where the rule of elders is not substantially questioned, the rightfulness of
their power is doxa, therefore no discourse of orthodoxy of authenticity
attempting to legitimate gerontocratic rule, has to be developed. When these
relationships break down and are opposed, a more overt discourse of legitimisation needs to develop. This is tradition in the second sense, as a
historical claim in itself; that is, a claim to authenticity. Tradition in this
sense does not imply age or continuity, although both might be present, but
is rather a claim to legitimacy based upon the past. In line with Hobsbawms
invented tradition, it tends to be invoked in times of change when peoples
social relationships are being undermined. It is clearly also used to change
the present by developing a political legitimisation for particular groups
(Wright 1992: 21). It is in these second senses that I will be using the term
tradition. The common understanding of the word does imply objective age
and continuity and it is for this reason that I will maintain the inverted
commas around the term.
An historical analysis therefore clearly adds an important dimension to
understanding the dynamics of ritual action, and particularly traditional
rituals. In the same Hobsbawm and Ranger collection Cannadine criticises
both functionalist and Marxist sociology for failing to situate an understanding of the ceremonies of the British monarchy in their historical
context. From the standpoint of an historian he makes exactly the same
observation as Bloch when he suggests that while a repeated ritual like a
coronation remains unaltered over time, its meaning may change
profoundly depending on the nature of the context. However, Cannadine
warns against reading any ritual in history simply as a text and argues that
we should be aware of the context in which the ritual is performed and the
quality with which it is performed before analysing its meaning (Cannadine
1983: 1056, 1987: 4). Just because the ritual appears to be unchanged
does not necessarily indicate that it means the same thing over time.

Northern Ireland: Ethnicity Politics and Ritual



Ritualised action creates events that provide a political resource utilised by
interest groups within the political field. As such it appears as a dynamic
force despite, and because of, the legitimation gained from the appearance of,
and the claim to, tradition. Ritual not only objectifies a sense of power and
authority but also empowers those taking part. They are not simply dupes
blind to domination but some are actively engaged, through the ritual, in
resistance and this resistance takes place on a number of levels, both with
the ritual experts, the ritual hierarchy, and with the state more generally.
Ritual is an important site of negotiated hegemonic relationships, and antihegemonic battles. Yet despite the lack of a consensus within the ritual it still
acts to objectify the group to the outside world; it still serves to mark
boundaries and give an outward appearance of group consciousness.
ritual emerges as a particular cultural strategy of differentiation linked to particular
social effects and rooted in a distinctive interplay of socialised body and the
environment it structures.. . . [This] argument suggests that ritualization is a strategy
for the construction of a limited and limiting power relationship. This is not a relationship in which one social group has control over another, but one that
simultaneously involves both consent and resistance, misunderstanding and appropriation. (Bell 1992: 8)

Bell has summed up four perspectives that can be utilised in understanding ritual. The first is an examination of how ritualization empowers those
more or less in control of the rite; the second asks how their power is also
limited and constrained; the third considers how ritualization dominates
those involved as participants; and the fourth investigates how this
domination involves a negotiated participation and resistance that also
empowers (Bell 1992: 211). Broadly speaking I will be utilising this
formulation. I will try to identify the variety of interest groups, some working
through the state, that utilise the Twelfth and the way that the rituals
empower them. I will be suggesting that their power is limited and controlled;
indeed, so much so that interest groups, particularly the upper classes and
the state, at various times have abandoned and even suppressed the parades.
I will try to show how Orangeism, through the Twelfth parades, provides
ideological constructions clearly working in the interests of the powerful and
masking alternative political strategies. But, importantly, I will be suggesting
that the position of participants is not only negotiated, that the Orangeism
is not always hegemonic, but that there are also clear lines of resistance and
that the parades are used to oppose some of the powerful interests that also
utilise the events. To understand these perspectives I will examine the
complex, developing relationships between classes, between ethnic
communities and between the state and those ethnic communities.
To understand the reaction of the state and sections of the Protestant
community when the civil rights movement started to march into the cities


Orange Parades

and towns of Northern Ireland in the late 1960s we have to understand the
social and cultural environment in which the marches were taking place.
Whatever the specific messages of the demonstrations the ritual action itself
raised questions of political identity and power. To comprehend the reactions
of the Protestant community we need to place the parade, in particular
Orange parades, in historical context.



. . . ritualized acts are apprehensible, waiting to be apprehended and, possibly, given

meaning. (Humphrey and Laidlaw 1994: 101)

In studying the dynamics of this Protestant ethnic identity it is essential to

analyse the way in which symbolic forms were and are competed for and
the way in which political groups continue to attempt to exert control over
them. The formation of a Protestant identity, amongst others, in the north
of Ireland has been a complex, long-term political process. Rituals and
symbols at some point are created invented and can be apprehended
appropriated or opposed, by those in power. Commemorations of the Battle
of the Boyne, the Twelfth of July, were created in the eighteenth century
within particular economic and political circumstances and appropriated in
the nineteenth century to become a respectable representation of
Protestant identity, part of the Protestant tradition in Ireland. In this
chapter I want to explore the invention of the Twelfth of July, opposition to
it and then its appropriation by particular class interests in the second half
of the nineteenth century.


By the sixteenth century Ireland was more or less under the control of an
English monarch and many landholders were English aristocracy. However,
in the reign of Henry VIII the English establishment became Protestants,
Anglicans, as opposed to Roman Catholics. At the end of the sixteenth
century the area that English Protestant officials found most rebellious was
Ulster, the nine counties in the north of Ireland. In 1601 the last great Gaelic
Irish rebellion was defeated and, to maintain better control of the land, it was
decided that it should be settled with people from England and Scotland. This
process of settlement is now known as the Plantation. A large number of the
migrants came from Scotland and were Presbyterians (sometimes known as
Dissenters) settling predominantly in Counties Antrim and Down. The
settlers from England, who were Anglicans, tended to move to Counties
Armagh and Fermanagh.


Orange Parades

Much fear and suspicion existed between the different groups and in 1641
there was a series of rebellions, including a massacre of Protestants in
Portadown that is remembered and commemorated today. In 1649 Oliver
Cromwell came and avenged earlier atrocities by committing atrocities
himself. However, by the end of the seventeenth century the English
monarchy had again become Catholic. Distrust between the Catholic
aristocracy and Anglican aristocracy was great in both England and Ireland
and eventually it was to lead to a battle that is still commemorated in
Northern Ireland today the Battle of the Boyne.
The Battle of the Boyne was a European battle. Louis XIV of France was at
that time the dominant political power on the continent and Prince William
of Orange was part of a grand alliance against Louis, which included the
Roman Catholic King of Spain and the Pope, within which the position of
England under James II became crucial (Murtagh 1993: 40; Haddick-Flynn
1999: 3284). James, who had converted to Roman Catholicism, managed
to unite opposition against himself in England. On 5 November 1688
William landed at Brixham, Devon, and proceeded unopposed to take the
throne jointly with his wife Mary, the eldest daughter of James. James fled to
France to seek help from Louis, and in March 1689 he landed at Kinsale in
Ireland so as to use Ireland, with its predominantly Catholic population, as
a stepping stone to the recovery of the English throne. In 1689 William sent
relief to the Protestants under siege in Londonderry and in June 1690 he
landed at Carrickfergus with a large European army and marched south
through Belfast, where he appears to have received a welcome, on his way
to the Boyne. Williams own Calvinist background, and the promise of
increased security for Protestant land ownership in Ulster, helps to explain
this welcome. Eventually the two kings and their armies met at the Boyne
on the 1 July (o.s.) and William led his troops across the river to victory.
In military terms the significance of the battle appears to have been
limited, as the army of King James retreated relatively unscathed and
William was unable to win a decisive victory and eventually returned to
London. However, it did see the two kings in direct opposition and James did
return to France afterwards. The decisive military event took place on
Sunday 12 July 1691 at Aughrim and it remains the bloodiest battle ever
fought on Irish soil (Bardon 1992: 165). The result was the treaty of
Limerick, signed on 3 October 1691, which allowed 15,000 Irish soldiers to
sail to France and those giving their allegiance to William and Mary to keep
their lands. As part of the settlement Roman Catholics were assured freedom
to worship. However, the Anglicans of Ireland did not prove so liberal. With
Parliament winning rights over the monarch, William was unable to do
much to curb the excesses of the newly victorious Protestant landowners,
and, in addition, his interest in Ireland was mainly strategic. The Glorious
Revolution had given new powers to the Parliament and they were used to
enact penal laws against Roman Catholics and Dissenters.

Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth


For Ireland the Glorious Revolution meant not only a victory of some
kind of parliamentary democracy over absolutism but also a political shift
of power towards Anglican landowners who, through Parliament, produced
what came to be known as the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland. For them,
Williams birthday, the closing of the gates of Derry at the start of the siege,
and the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim immediately became events to
be celebrated.


The Orange Order was formed in Armagh in September 1795 and the first
Twelfth parades under the new institutions auspices took place in July
1796. The Dublin Evening Post describes the Lurgan parade as containing
fourteen companies formed of a motley group of turncoats, Methodists,
Seceders and High Churchmen accompanied by a multitude of boys and
country trolls cheering the lagging heroes. Those in the march displayed
banners showing William III on horseback and it appears that the marchers
were clearly divided into lodges with sword-bearers, called Tylors, and batoncarriers. Marchers wore orange cockades and blue ribbons looped in the
buttonhole. A large drum and fifes also accompanied the group (Sibbert
1914/15: 268; Loftus 1994: 15). The political environment, the type of
people participating and the areas early Orange Order parades were held
was in marked contrast to Williamite commemorations earlier in the
century. Williamite parades that took place in the years immediately
following the Williamite wars tended to be held in Dublin on Williams
birthday, 4 November, focusing upon a statue of King William in College
Green, inaugurated on 1 July 1701 (Simms 1974). The parades were
performed by the military and controlled by the state, a commemoration
chiefly for the Anglican gentry and the companies and corporations of the
city.1 Jarman has argued that it was the role of the lower classes to observe
and bear witness to the dignity of their betters (Jarman 1997a: 34). Any
popular celebrations took place around bonfires whilst the gentry retired to
a banquet. The parades were part of an attempt to popularise William as a
non-sectarian national figure by stressing the ideals of civil and religious
liberty and the Williamite campaign as a victory for parliamentary
democracy (Jarman 1997a: 3143). As the century had worn on the Dublin
authorities had begun to find the commemoration a problem with bonfires
and fireworks getting out of control (Hill 1984: 35).2 Popular commemorations, including parades, also developed through Williamite societies,
although Anglican gentry dominated many of them (Senior 1966: 23;
Haddick-Flynn 1999: 92107).
More influential for the development of the Orange Order was the
Volunteer movement which, allied to the Patriot Party in the Irish
Parliament, demanded constitutional reform, particularly greater separation


Orange Parades

from the English Parliament. Independent of the government, and convinced

of their right to arm and defend themselves, the first Volunteers appeared in
Belfast in 1778. They were broadly made up of Protestant merchants,
tradesmen and farmers. On 1 July 1778, two companies of Volunteers
paraded in Belfast and in Newtownards.3 It was through the Williamite
rituals, which commemorated the deliverance from arbitrary power, that
their ideas could be expressed (Millar 1978: 27). Over the next few years
parades were held on 1 July in places such as Coleraine, Cork, Dublin and
Belfast, to commemorate the Battle of the Boyne, on 12 July to commemorate
the Battle of Aughrim, 4 November to celebrate Williams birthday and 7
December to commemorate the closing of the Gates of Derry (Simms 1974:
239; Millar 1978: 34). The states celebrations and the Volunteers celebrations were separate. Although these Volunteer corps did not recommend full
Catholic emancipation, in some areas they did promote a new attitude
towards their Catholic fellow countrymen (Bardon 1992: 217). The most
often quoted display of liberalism by the Volunteers took place in Belfast in
1784 when its ranks were opened to all men whatever their religion,4 and
helped in the collection for a new Mass house (St Marys Chapel) to which
they marched to hear Mass. On 12 July 1784 they presented Lord
Charlemont, the titular head of the Volunteers, with an address favouring
greater equality for Catholics, though he politely turned them down. The
declining popularity of the Volunteers, after the reforms of 1782, may have
forced them to widen their base by admitting Catholics and this caused
tension between Catholic and Protestant groups, particularly in Armagh
(Beckett 1979: 11516; Jarman 1997a: 3943; Stewart 1989: 1301).
There appear to have been no commemorative parades in Belfast for the
centenary of the Boyne. However, some Volunteers quickly took on board
the French Revolution. They marched in Belfast on Bastille Day, 14 July
1791, and it is possible that this was recognition of an alienation from the
monarch. In 1792 there was a general refusal to attend the 4 November
Dublin celebrations of Williams birthday (Simms 1974: 240).
Whilst Williamite rituals and commemorations existed prior to the
formation of the Orange Order it is also clear that they had not attained the
wide appeal and participation that they were to after 1795 and the political
utilisation of the events was in marked contrast to that which was to develop.
Orangeism in its institutional guise helped to codify and control the Boyne
commemorations in a form that had not previously existed. It could be said
that Orangemen appropriated the events. The Orange Order itself developed
in particular local economic and social conditions specific to County
Armagh. Faction fighting had taken place for many years around the County
and had taken on a particularly sectarian form with the formation of
Protestant Peep ODay Boys and rival Catholic Defenders (Senior 1966; Gray
1972; Gibbon 1972, 1975; Millar 1978, 1990; Frank Wright 1996; Brewer
and Higgins 1998: 427; Haddick-Flynn 1999: 12061). After a skirmish
between Defenders and Peep ODay Boys at the Diamond near Loughgall the

Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth


victorious Protestant group marched to Loughgall and at the house of James

Sloan decided to form a defensive organisation. The new Orange Institution
was structured around individual numbered lodges, regalia, rituals and
symbols reflecting the Masonic background of some of its founding members
and reflected the custom of public banding as represented in the Volunteer
movement (Gibbon 1975). Although a number of Presbyterians were
involved, there seems little doubt, particularly given the area we are
discussing, that Anglicans predominated. What is generally agreed upon is
that with a number of notable exceptions, few landowners joined at the start
(Senior 1966: 20).
Despite this lack of widespread support from the landed class, early leaders
wanted respectability and looked to distance themselves from the
troublesome Peep ODay Boys. Yet the immediate aftermath of the Loughgall
battle in September 1795 was a concerted attempt by groups of
Orangemen to run Roman Catholics out of the county. The demands that
they take themselves to Hell or Connaught were also accompanied by the
smashing of looms or what has been called wrecking (Gibbon 1975: 39;
Bardon 1992: 2267). Although Orange Institution leaders distanced
themselves from such actions, an obvious effect was to alienate local gentry,
merchants and the government from the new Institution, placing its early
leaders in an awkward position (Senior 1966: 30).
We understand that on Tuesday last being the anniversary of the battle of the
Aughrim, a great body of Orange Men, amounting to upward of 2000 assembled in
Lurgan, and spent the day with the utmost regularity and good order. It unfortunately
happened in the course of the afternoon that some words took place between Mr
McMurdie, at Ahalee, near Lurgan, and one of the Queens County Militia, when came
to blows, Mr McMurdie received a stab of which he died.5

Gaining and maintaining respectability, in the face of public disorder

associated with the Orange Order, was a problem for leading Orangemen
from the organisations first year onwards.
While the Peep ODay Boys who preceded the Orange Order had the
appearance of many of the agrarian secret societies, such as the Whiteboys
and the Hearts of Oak, the comparatively highly developed nature of weaving
in Armagh and the class of individuals from which the Peep ODay Boys were
drawn, mostly journeymen and weavers, suggests an early proletarian
movement (Gibbon 1975: 34). Gibbon has argued that this makes the
Orange Institution quite different from the previous agrarian-based secret
societies. North Armagh, at that time, showed the most advanced stages of
the capitalist linen trade, which resulted in the breakdown of rural relationships of labour patronage. A labour market developed in which Catholic
labourers could compete openly with Protestant labourers. Faced with the
breakdown of customary social relations, the journeymen, often young
unmarried weavers, went about enforcing the penal code, against Roman
Catholics, that had been won in 1691 (Gibbon 1975: 34). Frank Wright has


Orange Parades

argued that as conditions in, what he terms, the frontier society allowed a
paternalistic relationship to develop between the ruling class of Anglican
landlords and the Catholic natives, then the plebeian settler community,
Anglican and Presbyterian journeymen and weavers, organised in such a
way as to destabilise structures of authority. As the Catholic population
began to organise as bands of Defenders, polarisation set in. The local elite
was forced to co-opt some of the more controllable parts of the plebeian settler
community (Frank Wright 1996: 2738).
That the Orange Institution took up the Williamite banner, that of hardwon Protestant ascendancy, is not surprising. The Williamite anniversaries
provided the newly formed Orange Order with a legitimised link to the
Protestant sovereign (Millar 1978) as well as a rallying point that should
have been readily acceptable, even respectable, to the middle and landed
classes and the government, which in turn might have differentiated them
from the disreputable Peep ODay Boys. But even the first events were
politically highly charged given the sectarian tensions, and it provided the
government with the potential problem of civil disorder. With the rise of the
United Irishmen and a predominantly Roman Catholic militia, the states
reaction to the commemoration immediately becomes important (Senior
1966: 41). Orange leaders became more overt in their politics and offered
support to the state, describing themselves as Boyne Clubs. Increased gentry
involvement in the Armagh area may also have stemmed the outrages
against Catholics, by groups calling themselves Orangemen, that had
followed the Battle of the Diamond, for they continued in areas where
landowners had, up until then, taken little part (Senior 1966: 424). But
outside developments were such that the growth of the Institution was to be
assured. In September 1796 Parliament voted for the formation of a
Yeomanry corps and Orangemen made up a substantial part of this force
which was used to oppose the United Irishmen (McDowell 1979: 5612;
Campbell 1991). In short, a coalition between members of the lower class of
Protestants and a section of the landed gentry was being established, and by
12 July 1797 the position of the Orange Institution had been significantly
strengthened (Senior 1966: 689). The Twelfth of 1797 can only have
reinforced the governments endorsement of Orangeism despite reservations.
General Lake received a parade of artillery men, militia men, Orangemen
and Yeomanry in Belfast then moved on to Lurgan where a crowd of 12,000
greeted them. Clearly, the appearance of General Lake acted to give
important public legitimacy to the Orange Order and the Twelfth. Belfast, as
the centre of radical thought at that time, had found it difficult to raise a
Yeomanry corps. Neither did Belfast prove to be a hotbed of Orangeism for
years after. Indeed, at the Belfast parade General Lake may well have
perceived the event more as a show of strength in front of a disloyal town.
This Twelfth in Belfast certainly appears to have had a unique level of
government involvement. In Lurgan his appearance possibly completed the

Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth


process of giving state legitimacy to the Orange Order, which started when
Orangemen were drawn into the Yeomanry.
On 12 July 1797 a Grand Lodge of Ulster was formed and some of the early
founders of the Order were moved aside (Dewar et al. 1967; Smyth 1995:
523). More significantly still, in April 1798, a number of prominent
politicians in Dublin joined a city lodge and the Grand Lodge was moved
there from County Armagh (Haddick-Flynn 1999: 17590). Smyth has
argued that the men of property hijacked the movement in order to control
it (1995: 53). The Institutions rules were rationalised and codified. The
Grand Lodge was to be the ruling body, below which would stand the County
Grand Lodges which in turn were divided into Districts composed of private
Lodges. By 1798 senior political figures were attempting some sort of control
over the mass of the lower-class Orangemen.
Two events at the end of the century had a significant effect on the new
Institution: the Rising of the United Irishmen in 1798 and the Act of Union
that came into force in 1801. Although direct involvement by the Orange
Institution in countering the rebellion was limited, the government made
further use of its membership, and stories of atrocities by the United Irishmen
increased membership of the Order. Stories of Orange atrocities had the same
effect on recruitment to the United Irishmen. The failed Rising completed the
process of turning the Orange Institution from a small, geographically and
politically limited group into a large, nationwide, influential organisation.
Surprisingly, perhaps, in the light of its later role as defender of the Union, the
Act of Union nearly split the Institution. Many Lodges feared the loss of the
Parliament in Dublin as a diminution of local power and a forerunner to
Catholic emancipation. Seventeen of the nineteen Orange MPs voted against
the measure and Lodges in Dublin, Armagh, Monaghan, Antrim, and Down
called for the Grand Lodge, which remained neutral, to better reflect the
views of membership. One Lodge warned of the extinction of the Irish nation
(Sibbert 1914/15: 8491).


To understand the Twelfth parades in the early nineteenth century we need
to recognise the relationship between the state, the government, the elite of
the Orange Institution, and the lower-class, rural and urban, Church of
Ireland and Presbyterian membership. I would agree with Smyths argument
that from the outset Orangeism had a respectability problem (1995: 52).
Early Williamite commemorations, particularly in Dublin, had the air of
respectability. They were endorsed by the state. Even the Volunteer
movement, patronised by middle-class Protestants, appeared respectable.
But Orangeism was different, a popular culture that developed in shebeens
and pubs, the site of much political resistance in early modern Europe (Burke
1978; Scott 1990: 1204). It developed out of more direct lower-class


Orange Parades

sectarian confrontations that put at risk the economic and political stability
of the country. Orange parades had quite a carnivalesque atmosphere and
were occasions on which a mixture of drink and religious worship was not
uncommon. The carrying of flags and banners, and the accompaniment of
a band, or bands, and large drums seems universal. Parades either ended up
at church services, at a field or at some general meeting point where a
religious service was usually conducted. So whilst Orangeism provided
possible security for local landowners and loyal defenders for the government
the parades became sites for both drunken revelry and sectarian clashes. For
much of the early nineteenth century those in power seemed unsure whether
these local Orange parades should be encouraged or discouraged, whether
they should be embraced by the establishment or put down as destructive
for the well-being of the state. The parades became a resource for those
seeking political control, but a resource with limitations.
The years from 1795 to the 1870s were turbulent ones for the Orange
Order. Successive governments were ill at ease with the Orange Order, and
that unease grew significantly after 1800. Parades increasingly became the
site of conflict, with the first major disturbances in Belfast involving
Orangemen taking place in 1813. The governments attitude to the
Williamite anniversaries moved from one of encouragement, involvement
or at least tacit acceptance, to one of discouragement and then outright
opposition. This demanded a political balancing act of the senior Orangemen,
who were by then well entrenched within the Dublin establishment; they
had to try to keep control of these rituals, that went at least some way to
providing them with legitimised political power, whilst placating those in
government worried about the unrest caused by party events. Hill has
suggested one of the keys to these changes in her work on the Dublin
Williamite anniversaries. To achieve national allegiance within the new
Union, the state required a tradition that would attract Catholics as well as
both liberal and conservative Protestants. However, the Orange Order
managed, over the thirty years from 1795, to become the sole bearers of the
Williamite banner, and the state not only relinquished support for the 4
November celebrations in Dublin but eventually, in 1825, banned the
Orange Order and its party parades throughout Ireland (Hill 1984: 9).
Senior Orangemen attempted to sustain their position, while the
government reacted to civil disturbances commonly involving Catholic
Ribbonmen and Orangemen as antagonists and the formation of the
Catholic Association by Daniel OConnell to campaign for Catholic emancipation. Jarman describes this period as the era of riotous assemblies (1997a:
538). Leading Orangemen were desperate to stay within the law and there
is some evidence of disquiet amongst brethren about the ineffectuality of the
Grand Lodge of Ireland in protecting their interests (Senior 1966: 208). In
1824 the Grand Lodge was prepared to go so far as to suggest that members
of the Institution desist from parading,6 and this request was supported by
the District Lodge in Belfast.7 The evidence suggests that there was not great

Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth


compliance with the Grand Lodges request with at least eighteen Boyne
commemoration parades being reported in the north.8 In short, it appears
that senior office holders in the Orange Institution had reached the point of
not being able to sustain arguments for their political supporters to go out
on parade, whether or not the resulting disturbances were the fault of
Orangemen. Their position as large landowners, and as representatives of
the civil authority such as magistrates, with most to gain from a peaceful
land, meant that they had to take the dangerous political decision of
abandoning the ritual events that acted as the focal point of their organisation and as cement for cross-class allegiances. In attempting to maintain the
legality of their Institution, they were abandoning the very acts that gave it
the appearance of such political unity. The only appeal that the senior
Orangemen could make to their brethren was to their loyalty to the state.
The rank and file was placed in a position of showing their loyalty by not
partaking in a ritual that they believed showed their loyalty.
The strength of OConnells Catholic Association, and the disturbances
involving Orangemen, Ribbonmen, and a number of other agrarian societies,
persuaded Parliament, in 1825, to pass the Unlawful Societies Bill, despite
stout opposition from Orange members (Haddick-Flynn 1999: 226). The
Grand Lodge of Ireland had no choice but to disband, and on 18 March it did
so, issuing an address which suggested that any lodges meeting after this
day commit a breach of the law, and are liable to the consequent penalties.9
However, celebrations of the Twelfth remained widespread with disturbances
at a number of them, including Belfast.10 Orangemen continued to meet and
parade despite efforts by the authorities and senior Orangemen to stop the
commemorations.11 The Northern Whig acknowledges the withdrawal of the
respectable portion of the Orange Institution and pointed out that the
working classes in the town [Dromore] and neighbourhood are fully as
pugnacious as those in any part of the empire.12
The Unlawful Societies Act expired in 1828 and the government chose
not to renew or replace it. There is certainly no doubting the strength of the
Orange movement that July with at least eighteen large parades reported.13
For members of the Grand Lodge the same problems remained: trying to
wield the political force displayed on the Twelfth within the state, yet not
appear to threaten the stability of the state and thereby lose the very force
they were wielding. The next few years were to see their position becoming
even more untenable. In 1829, despite a proclamation from the Lord
Lieutenant suppressing the parades (House of Commons Select Committee
1835: 304), and proclamations by senior Orangemen, the parades went
ahead and, with Catholics forming into Ribbon bands, trouble ensued.
Magistrates in Belfast had a notice published dissuading participation in
processions, despite remonstrations from local Orangemen that they could
not be prevented from walking. A demonstration of fifteen lodges took place
and later there was rioting in the Brown Street and Millfield areas (Bardon
1992: 247). There was trouble in at least eight towns with fatalities at Stew-


Orange Parades

artstown (Sibbert 1914/15 vol. II: 343; Senior 1966: 2401).14 From 1830
to 1835 disturbances at parades were commonplace. Each year pressure was
brought to bear on Orangemen, from both within and outside the Institution,
not to parade; but the parades went ahead. In August 1832 a Party
Processions Bill was passed. But the parades continued despite the
prosecution of Orangemen.
In 1835 a Parliamentary committee was set up to look into Orangeism. Of
the three-volume report that resulted, the largest part was on Orangeism in
Ireland. The evidence of the Select Committee of 1835 provides a fascinating
window onto the Orange Institution and its celebration of the Twelfth. Not
only did those who were unsympathetic to the Institution throw scorn upon
the ability of the Orange elite to restrain their brethren, but some senior
members of the Institution expressed their role as offering leadership and
therefore controlling the rougher elements. Perhaps the greatest concern of
the Committee was the widespread existence of Orange lodges within the
British army. Added to this was the patchy evidence of a plot to put the Duke
of Cumberland on the throne. After the king had replied to an address from the
House of Commons pertaining to the discouragement of the Orange lodges,
the Duke of Cumberland was forced to dissolve the Grand Orange Lodge of
Great Britain. In Ireland there was much opposition to the dissolution, with
the Armagh District leading the way. Finally, on 13 April, the Grand Orange
Lodge of Ireland decided by 79 votes to 59 that the promotion of interests of
the Protestant population in Ireland will no longer be served by the
continuance of that Institution (Sibbert 1938 vol. II revised: 226).


A number of factors appear to be significant in the development of Orange
parades in the middle part of the nineteenth century. Party Processions Acts
were in force from 1832 to 1844 and from 1850 to 1872. The enforcement
of these Acts highlighted the clear class divisions over the celebration of the
Twelfth throughout this period. The rapid industrial development of Belfast,
with the consequential growth of a predominantly working-class population,
was also accompanied by persistent sectarian unrest. Whilst the gentry
distanced themselves from the mass of Orangemen, many leaving the
Institution, and despite the non-existence of a Grand Lodge for much of this
time, Orangeism persisted amongst the lower classes and its significance in
Belfast began to increase. For much of this period senior Orangemen, those
who did not leave the Institution, attempted to dissuade Orange lodges from
marching. The Lord Lieutenant also issued regular proclamations from
Dublin reminding magistrates, many being Conservative landlords, of their
duty to stop party parades. The 1836 Constabulary Bill introduced
stipendiary magistrates as central government officials controlling a con-

Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth


stabulary. This allowed central government greater control of parades. Some

magistrates were even dismissed for being unwilling to confront Orange
parades (Frank Wright 1987: 1314, 1996: 556).
In the 1830s, in areas such as Larne, Carrickfergus and Ballymoney,
where there were few Catholics and a liberal Presbyterian population still
opposed to Conservative landlords, Orangeism was very weak (Frank Wright
1996: 59). However, it appears there were still parades in staunchly Orange
areas as well as the development of parades in areas such as Ballymena,
County Antrim, which had not previously seen great numbers of Orangemen.
Many Orangemen were dissatisfied with the sort of support they were
receiving from MPs connected with the Orange Institution (BNL 16 July
1844). There were significant parades from 1836 to 1838, but, during the
late 1830s and early 1840s, the parades appear to have become smaller and
fewer in number with some Orangemen prosecuted (Sibbert 1938: 258).15
The Party Processions Act was not renewed in 1844, perhaps due once
again to the governments need to use Orangeism in a time of growing crisis
(Frank Wright 1996: 136). This relieved some of the pressure on the Orange
Institution but senior members continued to advise against parades being
held. There was no great rush by the landed classes back to Orangeism and
respectable members did not parade in public (Frank Wright 1996: 152).16
The Belfast News Letter suggested that in these days of education and enlightenment, Protestantism and loyalty have discovered better modes of asserting
themselves, than by wearing sashes and walking to the music of fife and
drum.17 But large parades, often referred to as monster parades, were held;
the ability to hold these was facilitated by the rapid development of the
railway network in Ulster. The trains allowed Orangemen to gather in
greater numbers and also had the effect of making the area around stations
in Belfast common sites for sectarian clashes during July.
Limited government use of Orangeism became impossible once again in
1849 when a Twelfth parade over Dollys Brae, County Down, saw a major
confrontation between Orangemen and Catholic Ribbonmen, a confrontation which looms large in Orange folk history.18 The confrontation resulted
in a number of Catholic houses being wrecked, an estimated 30 dead
Ribbonmen and three magistrates dismissed (Sibbert 1938: 3516; Dewar
et al. 1967; Bardon 1992: 3024; Frank Wright 1996: 155; Haddick-Flynn
1999: 27287). Landlords who had rejoined the Institution left once again
and a new Party Processions Bill gained royal assent on 12 March 1850. Yet
again the fundamental differences of interest within Orangeism were to be
revealed in reactions to the ban placed upon party processions. The bulk of
lower-class Orangemen perceived their loyalty as disregarded by the
government. A few lodges in Armagh and Tyrone went so far as to burn their
flags and warrants.19
Twelfth parades through the 1850s were patchy but not uncommon.
Policing of Ulsters towns was heavy around the Twelfth, with reinforcements often travelling from southern areas to do the job. Some Orangemen


Orange Parades

were prosecuted for taking part in political processions. In Belfast, in

particular, the July period was marked by the appearance of drumming
parties comprising a fife and large drum, and decorations such as arches over
the road covered in Orange lilies and a variety of Orange symbols. The local
police were predominantly Orangemen and, although senior policemen were
wary of Orange July displays, the displays were accepted so long as they took
place within Protestant areas and did not threaten disturbances (Frank
Wright 1996: 24653). Generally, distinguished Orangemen, various
government agencies and newspapers produced annual recommendations
requesting that brethren desist from marching.20
If anything in particular seems to have characterised the period of the next
twenty years it was the role of a number of conservative Protestant preachers
who regularly gave sermons, not only in church, but also at demonstrations
and in the centre of Belfast. Ministers such as Cooke, Drew, Hanna and
McIlwaine became synonymous with just about every major sermon or
demonstration that took place. The Reverend Henry Cooke particularly
linked a Conservative brand of Presbyterianism with Orangeism and the
belief that God had given the Protestants of Ulster an important role in the
prosperity of the British Empire (Brewer and Higgins 1998: 5760). Whilst
the Twelfth as organised by the Orange Institution was, to a certain extent,
in abeyance, many country Orange lodges and Districts continued to mark
the occasion and there were informal commemorations, particularly in
Protestant working-class areas of Belfast. Events remained peaceful so long
as Catholics ignored the more provocative elements and the authorities
managed to control them. But this was a strained status quo and parades
often led to disturbances (Frank Wright 1996: 2534). There were disturbances during July in Belfast in 1852, Lisburn and Belfast in 1853, and
Belfast in 1855.21 July 1857 saw some of the worst rioting in Belfasts
history, with disturbances, particularly house expulsions, lasting right
through until September (Sibbert 1938; Boyd 1969; Budge and OLeary
1973; Gibbon 1975; Bardon 1992; Frank Wright 1996). The Commission
of Enquiry blamed the street preachers, with sermons containing a heady
mix of religion, politics and Williamite history, for some of the tensions and
quoted a sermon by the Reverend Drew at an Orange Service in Christs
Church, Sandy Row.
In the history of the maligned and indomitable Orange Institution, it will be found,
when a great part of the aristocratic leaven was withdrawn from it, and by a majority
the leaders consented to its extinction, the masses held together; and again, in times
of treason and expected insurrection, the gentry once more flocked under the folds of
the Orange banners.22

The divisive effect of the Party Processions Act for the Orange Institution
remained apparent for the next decade. Despite efforts to stop them, parades
remained relatively common. Whilst Belfast was heavily policed in the years
following the 1857 riots, surrounding areas, particularly Lambeg and

Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth



Lisburn, were common venues for

In 1858 people in Belfast
left for a 10,000 strong demonstration although the Newsletter provides an
unlikely observation that there was scarcely a man connected with the
Orange Institution in attendance.24 In 1860 there were riots in Lurgan,
Newtownards and Derrymacash following the Twelfth and the laws
controlling party displays were made even tougher later that year with the
Party Emblems Act; but it had little effect. In 1861 large meetings were again
held around Ulster, some involving processions.25 There may even have been
some increase in the number and size of events. There were party riots during
July in Belfast in 1863 and Belfast and Armagh in 1864.26 More serious,
however, were the disturbances in Belfast in August of 1864 after the
foundation for OConnells statue was laid in Dublin. The riots lasted two
weeks and the clash between Protestant ship carpenters and Catholic
navvies showed a ferocity not previously seen (Gibbon 1975: 6586; Budge
and OLeary 1973: 81; Frank Wright 1996: 2608).


When the Orange Institution formed in 1795, the use of Boyne or Aughrim
ritual celebrations as the public expression of its existence acted to create the
appearance of a visible Protestant unity between lower classes and the landed
gentry. At first the celebrations were endorsed by the administrations in
Dublin, not only because Williamite celebrations, in both their liberal and
ascendancy veins, had become part of an accepted identity for the Irish state,
but also because, pragmatically, the state needed counter-revolutionary
forces. The state effectively endorsed the more conservative celebration of
Williams campaign in Ireland. However, the perceived interest of the state,
the Ulster landed gentry and the lower-class Protestants were not always to
remain so easily allied. Orangeism was very much based upon lower-class,
rural groups of journeymen and weavers, many early lodges meeting in
pubs. It developed in areas where significant economic changes were taking
place disturbing previous social relationships. Early Orangeism, to an extent,
can be seen as a site of resistance taking a reactionary form. What then
follows is an interplay between those sites of resistance, local landlords and
magistrates and the forces of the state.
The Orange Order did not invent the Boyne parades, but it did institutionalise, routinise and attempt to control them into the Twelfth. It also
elaborated the physical and symbolic form of the ritual, although again it
drew upon existing organisations and events. The Twelfth became an
important contested political resource, utilised in different ways by Protestant
classes with different interests, as well as by the state. The states desire for
hegemonic consent of the bulk of the population meant that in various stages
it would abandon the Williamite celebration in favour of Saint Patricks Day


Orange Parades

(Hill 1984). Whilst this allowed the Orange Institutions to appropriate even
greater control of the Williamite rituals and their meanings, it also increased
the partiality of the events and created the possibility that they could be
perceived as being threatening or even in overt opposition to the state.
Attempts to re-appropriate the events were made by liberals. The Northern
Whig in 1824 appealed to the spirit of the earlier celebrations of the
Volunteers of Ireland and suggested that the Orangemans loyalty was
conditional, not permanent.27 OConnell was not beyond appealing to the
Orange faction, quoting the spirit of 1782 and toasting William with Boyne
water (Sibbert 1938 vol. II: 734; Senior 1966: 249). However, in the main,
those opposed to the Orangemen appeared to accept the new ideological role
of the Williamite celebrations and attempted to undermine the events by
using disturbances on the Twelfth as a political lever upon the government.
This meant that support for the public parades by senior members of the
Order, often themselves in positions of government, became a double-edged
sword. The Grand Lodge of Ireland found it difficult to defend the parades
and the consequent civil disorder, particularly during periods when emancipation and reform laws were on the agenda and tension was high. The
regular claims that Orangemen were not involved, or at least not to blame,
was in many ways irrelevant to the state. Neither state-sanctioned laws nor
various degrees of persuasion from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland were
particularly successful: the laws, because they were policed by a limited force
and often a partial judiciary, and the Grand Lodge because the parades had
become one of the few political resources the lower orders possessed. The
fundamental differences between the Orange elite in Dublin and the bulk of
the Orangemen in Armagh or Down explains why there was a readiness on
the part of one, but not the other, to abandon the parades.
Class divisions that are in some ways effectively subsumed under the
organisation of the rituals are immediately revealed when the ritual becomes
oppositional to the state. Indeed, when the political ground had shifted so
much that the government banned the organisation itself, divergent class
responses become clear. The lower-class members continue to parade as best
they can, while landowners and the elite in Dublin, who are effectively part
of the state, reform their Orangeism within the boundaries the law has now
set. The different interests of those that have taken part in the events are
revealed. For both, the Twelfth events provide some sort of political power.
For those senior Orangemen who are part of the state power structure, the
rituals can only supply political legitimacy so long as those events are not
seen to threaten the fabric of the state. At that point, it is no longer wise to
be seen to be involved in or encouraging the Twelfth. However, from those
lower down the social order, the Twelfth expresses relations of patronage
and social closure reducing the ability of Catholics to move into particular
labour markets. It also expresses a common identity by way of a display of
physical force alternative to that of the state. That is, alternative in the sense
that it is not controlled by the state. Thus, when the ritual itself threatens

Appropriating William and Inventing the Twelfth


civil disorder, those higher in the Orange Institution are prepared to abandon
it whilst those in the lower orders are not.
The Orange parades, as well as acting as political catalysts, reflected the
changes taking place in the political environment. Their physical appearance
tended to reinforce the structure of the Orange Institution. The routes and
destinations of parades were affected, and thus developed, by a number of
factors, including numbers taking part, the nature of the surrounding
population, the law enforcement agencies and the legality of the events. The
reaction of spectators in some ways depended upon the political environment
surrounding individual parades, so much so that in Dublin Orangemen were
forced to discontinue their public commemorations. Until the 1870s the
political power of the Orange Order remained limited. Its greatest strength,
even in 1835, was still predominantly in Armagh and Down and its infiltration into Belfast during that period was relatively limited. Only as political
and economic structures in the north changed did Presbyterians join the
Orange Institution in greater numbers, and, although this alliance was to
become extremely important, the domination of the Established Church in
the Institutions hierarchy was evident right up until the dissolution of the
Grand Lodge in 1836. It was not until the second half of the century that
political and social conditions would be conducive to Orangeism becoming
a focal political institution.


The continued popularity of the Twelfth among the lower classes, and
perhaps the growth of Orangeism within Belfasts expanding Protestant
working classes, had political potential which appears to have been
recognised by William Johnston, son-in-law of Reverend Drew, with a small
landholding at Ballykilbeg in County Down. He it was who, by organising
large parades in the late 1860s and early 1870s, effectively questioned the
role of the Grand Lodge of Ireland; he entered Parliament and in 1872 saw
the Party Processions Act taken off the statute book. He not only appropriated the ritual Twelfth parades for his own political campaign, but in doing
so forced elite Orangemen, who were conscious of losing political patronage,
to show more active support for the parades. It was William Johnston who
began to turn the parades into events that local politicians would find it
necessary to be seen at and to speak at. It was during this period that the
ground was laid for the type of Orangeism and unionism that was to
dominate the north of Ireland for the next hundred years. The parades
started to became respectable.


The details of William Johnstons rise and fall have been well documented
(Wright 1972, 1996: 31532; Gibbon 1975: 87111; Patterson 1980:
118; Walker 1989; Boyce 1990: 137; McClelland 1990; Bardon 1992:
35457). In 1864 the Belfast District Lodge broke from the Antrim County
lodge to form its own County Grand Lodge. The Orangeism of landlord
patronage in rural Ulster moved into Belfast but evolved in a new developed
industrial environment amongst a Protestant working class attempting to
control a developing labour market. The structure of Orange lodges allowed
them to graft easily onto the fine status positions of the skilled craftsmen
working in Belfasts industries. Lodges developed out of specific factories and
particular trades with foremen frequently becoming Masters of the Lodge.
Gibbon claims that the Order provided a means whereby the aspirations of
almost any semi-organised form of occupational particularism could be
incorporated (1975: 96). What made this form of patronage and labour

Parading Respectable Politics


exclusivity so different was the increased independence of workers from their

employers (Gibbon 1975: 94101). This urban and industrial arena
therefore still contained the structures of an Orange and Protestant
ascendancy, but in a quite new form, a form with which the Grand Lodge of
the Institution had yet to come to terms. Dominated by landlords and the
clergy of the Anglican Church, it was most concerned with the threats that
the Church might be disestablished; but, for many lodge members, more local
political issues were uppermost. Disestablishment certainly mattered less, if
at all, to the large number of Presbyterians in Belfast. Their power was
expressed through the Twelfth of July parades and not only was the Grand
Lodge doing little to fight the Party Processions Act but it often looked as
though it was supporting it (Patterson 1980: xviii). Yet from the mid-1860s
parades became more common, with the local police finding them harder to
control. As the ability of the police and magistrates to deal with parades, particularly the more rowdy drumming parties, was reduced, so also was the
ability of Catholic priests to control the Catholic population (Wright 1996:
William Johnston was a political entrepreneur. Deeply committed to the
Orange Institution he spent his life combating the Roman Catholic establishment. However, unlike many of his fellow Orangemen, Johnston appeared
to believe passionately in equal procession rights for all, Catholic as well as
Protestant (Wright 1996: 3402; Jarman and Bryan 1998). After the
prosecution of Orangemen in Gilford in 1864 Johnston started touring
Orange lodges speaking against the Party Processions Act and tried to get the
Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland to sanction a demonstration. When the Grand
Lodge refused Johnston attempted to organise a meeting for 12 July 1865;
he was threatened with expulsion from the Institution and forced to back
down. The following year Johnston got around this problem by organising
A Grand Protestant Demonstration on his own Ballykilbeg demesne with
regalia only to be worn on private property. The 9,000 strong parade proved
successful although it received criticism from the Belfast News Letter.
Given the success of this parade, and with some support from the Belfast
Grand Lodge, Johnston organised a massive parade for 12 July 1867 to go
from Newtownards to Bangor.1 He and twenty-five other Orangemen were
charged with illegal assembly. Refusing to apologise, he was sentenced on
28 February 1868 to one month in jail (McClelland 1990: 412). With his
martyrdom complete his support grew. Meetings were set up to push him
forward as a working mans candidate for Belfast and red banners appeared
with Johnston, the working mans friend upon them (Gibbon 1975: 99).
Johnstons position in the election campaign that followed probably owed
more to his resentment of the elite that ran the Institution than to any strong
feel for working class radicalism. He advocated land reform, but said little
else on social issues. Importantly, Johnstons position was aided by the
passing of an electoral reform act enfranchising more working men (Wright
1987: 434; Walker 1989: 60). At one meeting a speaker described


Orange Parades

Johnston as the new leader of ten thousand Orangemen in Belfast, and of

one hundred thousand in Ulster.2 William Johnston had effectively become
the spokesman for popular Orangeism and he easily won a seat in Belfast in
the 1868 election.
William Johnstons story is important because it marks a sea change in
the relationship between the Orange Institution, conservative politics and
the growing working classes of Belfast. Johnston appeared to understand
that political power could only be assured under a hegemonic position in
which the Protestant working classes felt that their political interests were
being served. However, Johnston promoted an independent style of
Orangeism which, although resolutely against the Catholic Church, was
nevertheless supportive of the rights of individual Catholics, particularly their
right to parade. But, as Wright has pointed out, letting both sorts of marches
happen on the same ground meant accepting the ground was both Orange
and Green (Wright 1996: 342). With Johnston becoming Belfast County
Grand Master in 1868, this independent, almost radical, and yet contradictory form of Orangeism briefly flowered (Wright 1996: 33455).
Senior members of the Orange Institution and the Conservative Party
could no longer rely on the patronage of the landlordtenant relationship as
they had in the countryside. Conservatism had lost control of Orangeism. As
such, in the winter of 1869 the Conservative Working Mens Association
was set up with the agreement of the Orange Protestant Workingmens
Association. More importantly there was a concerted attempt, led by
Reverend Hugh Hanna, to purge the independent Orangemen from the
Institution. Wright believes Hanna to be the first Presbyterian minister in
Belfast to join the Institution. Hanna involved himself in the expulsion of
some independents, in creating County Chaplains, and creating new Districts
within Belfast County to try to obtain enough votes in the County Grand
Lodge to depose Johnston. At the Twelfth in 1871 Hanna attacked Johnston
for defending the rights of Fenians to march, and later that year Johnston
was ousted as County Grand Master by the more conservative faction
(Wright 1996: 353).
The conservatives had regained some control of the Institution, and
Orangeism provided the means through which a new hegemonic relationship could be developed between the bourgeoisie and the Protestant working
classes. Yet this was not so much the Orangeism of protecting the Established
Church, whose concerns were those of the old establishment gentry, but an
Orangeism that demanded the right for Protestants to parade, where workers
expected the support and involvement of their betters. Parades now took
place openly, in spite of the law. In 1869 there were dozens of parades on 1
July, and over thirty parades on the Twelfth, although in some places
banners were kept furled until a private field was reached. The railway
system was used to bring Orangemen together for larger parades and the
Belfast News Letter devoted pages to reports of the events. Platforms were
erected at many fields for a religious service to be conducted and some

Parading Respectable Politics


political speeches were made. The Party Processions Act was shown to be
inoperative and in 1870, at a parade out of Belfast, there were 249 banners
on display. The parade was led by William Johnston wearing both orange
and crimson sashes and at the Field the first resolution called for the repeal
of the Party Processions Act.
On 27 June 1872 the repeal of the Party Processions Act gained royal
assent. Parading on 12 July was now legal again and entering a new era of
respectability. County lodges attempted to impose their authority by issuing
regulations over the parades, designating stewards, dictating when music
should and should not be played and particularly warning against drunken
behaviour.3 Johnstons faction went to the Bangor parade but, significantly,
most Belfast Orangemen, unable to get sufficient rail transport to the great
demonstration in Antrim, resolved to have their own parade to Belvoir Park,
whose grounds were offered by Thomas Bateson MP. The parade, reported
at 20,000 strong, and in which there were 70 banners, a number of brass
bands and the usual drumming parties, assembled at Great Victoria Street
in the centre of the city and marched out along the Malone Road. Despite
the platform collapsing, resolutions were read proposing loyalty to the
Protestant throne, confidence in Her Majestys present advisers, and a call
for the Conservative Party to take care of Orange interests. A further
resolution called for closer union amongst Evangelical Protestant Churches
in opposing the Church of Rome.4 This parade marked a shift from the
countryside to the city and it was not long before the Belfast Twelfth would
become the principal parade in Ulster.


Over the remaining years of the century the presence of a significant number
of Home Rule candidates at Westminster and significant agitation by the
tenant right movement were to dominate the politics of the Irish question.
In the rural east of Ulster, politics was split between an old-style landlord
Conservatism and liberal tenant farmers, a position not conducive to the
development of Orangeism. Indeed, Orangeism varied quite widely in
strength and practice, and enforcement of the right to march depended upon
particular local political and economic conditions (Wright 1996: 383431;
Jarman and Bryan 1998: 1540). In Belfast, however, the main division was
between Catholic nationalism and developing unionism (Gibbon 1975: 119)
and it was now the focus for Orangeism. In particular, almost all politicians
in the north, supporting the Union, found it necessary to speak on Twelfth
platforms. The Twelfth resonated with its new found importance. New
Orange halls were built in many areas, more Orange arches appeared than
ever before, the Twelfth effectively became a holiday in Belfast with nearly all
of the factories closing, and, most of all, the Twelfth parade became bigger
than ever before, attracting more well organised bands, and being led by


Orange Parades

many of the great and the good in Belfast. Conservative Orangemen could
still lose control to the more unbridled lower-class sectarian violence, July
was still a period for many civil disturbances, and extra police often had to
be transported north, but the ideological position that the Boyne celebrations had now achieved meant that there was never much chance of a Party
Processions Act returning. The Twelfth was central to a new unionist
hegemony amongst Protestants in Ulster.
The removal of the Party Processions Act from the statute book led to a
marked increase in parades on all the commemorative days and significant
civil disturbances, particularly in urban areas such as Lurgan, Lisburn and
Portadown and parts of Belfast (Wright 1996: 385; Jarman 1997a: 6179;
Jarman and Bryan 1998). Extra troops were regularly drafted in from the
south of Ireland as local magistrates attempted to control their district.
Between 1872 and the first Home Rule Bill in 1886 the Twelfth developed
into a more highly controlled and routinised political event. Smaller, more
localised, parades disappeared in favour of larger District and County
parades. In 1873 and 1874 magistrates in Belfast stopped parades in the
Borough and the main parades had to start at the boundary; only in 1878
did a parade start from the centre of Belfast.5 It is difficult to estimate the size
of the parade; but it took up to an hour and a half to pass a given point with
Orangemen marching up to eight abreast.6 Joining in with the local
Orangemen were often visiting Orangemen; particularly from Scotland, but
also from England, Canada and occasionally Australia.
The meetings at the Field were developing into more formal political
occasions. In the 1870s relatively few senior politicians spoke from the
platforms, the majority of speakers being local ministers. Usually, although
not always, there was a religious service at the start and the speeches
themselves were given by way of proposing or seconding a series of
resolutions. Although the number and content of these resolutions varied,
in general they covered the need for Protestant unity and the Orange
Institution throughout the Empire, loyalty to the throne and constitution,
support for civil and religious liberties, support for the Union and opposition
to Home Rule. Sometimes the Conservative Party would be thanked for
looking after the interests of Empire and there was usually a vote of thanks
to the landowner who had given the field in which they met. These speeches,
some of which were very long, were reported in full by the Belfast News Letter
in special editions which covered all the major parades in the north.
The disciplined and respectable nature of the parades was always in
tension with the rougher elements. The dominant musical accompaniment
during 1870s and 1880s would probably have been the drumming parties.
In Portadown, in 1873, there were riots on both 23 July and 5 November
over the rights of a drumming party to beat its way through the Catholic
Tunnel area of the town, notwithstanding attempts by the local police to stop
them. In general the drumming parties were looked down upon and
restrained by the respectable classes but Portadown was one of the few

Parading Respectable Politics


areas where the middle classes were prepared to show support for the rough
drumming parties even against the forces of law (Wright 1996: 397404;
Jarman and Bryan 1998). By the early 1880s there were around half a dozen
brass bands and between ten and twenty flute bands involved in the Belfast
parade.7 The shift away from the slow-moving, unmelodic and rough
drumming parties was applauded by reporters looking for a more
respectable and dignified event.8 There were also attempts to control the
amount of drinking that took place, with publicised bans on the sale of
alcohol at the Field as well as regular reminders during the speeches at the
Field that the behaviour of Orangemen on their return parade should not
cause offence.9
It was not that these rougher elements existed in a political vacuum.
Wright (1987, 1996) has convincingly argued that during periods when
Catholics were relatively disorganised it was comparatively easy for the state
to control the more nakedly sectarian elements in lower-class Orangeism.
But conservative landlords and the Belfast bourgeoisie, in utilising the ritual
parades, were handling an inherently dangerous political resource which
always had the potential of increasing civil disorder and instability within
the state. When Catholics became assertive of their rights, such as during
Home Rule agitation, then the ability, and maybe the will, of the state to
control loyal parades was reduced. Political entrepreneurs could utilise these
lines of resistance within the parades creating a thoroughly unbourgeois
political climate and setting the rule of law to nought (Wright 1996: 503).
The terrible riots in Belfast in 1886, lasting from June to mid-September,
were the ultimate expression of this, with over fifty people killed (Wright
1996: 476509).
In many ways the Orange Institution trod relatively carefully in trying to
assert itself in Belfast. Each year the route and destination of the Twelfth
parade had to be organised from scratch and, to begin with at least, the
Institution attempted to minimise confrontation. It had after all been made
aware of its political limitations in controlling brethren. At one level, senior
Orangemen had the economic interests of a peaceful city to be aware of,
whilst on another they were nurturing their relationship with a more
independent-minded Protestant working class, the support of which was
needed as a bulwark against Home Rule. As such, senior Orangemen
continually attempted to portray the Twelfth parades as respectable and
dignified occasions that could not possibly cause offence.
After a further widening of the franchise in 1884 and a redistribution of
seats in 1885, the election of that year saw the liberals and Gladstone
returned to power only with the support of Parnells Home Rule Party.
Gladstone embraced a policy of Home Rule. The very real threat of Home
Rule had a galvanising effect on unionism in Ulster. For the liberals it meant
a split between those who would side with the nationalists, and the majority,
with a strong base in Belfast, who supported the Union. Working-class
Protestants, during a period of economic decline, were reminded by


Orange Parades

Protestant ministers, such as the Reverend Hugh Hanna, of the benefits of

Protestant control of the labour market (Gibbon 1975: 1267). There was
a fusion of economic interests in the north that provided a powerful
argument for Protestant opposition to Home Rule and the Orange Order was
the obvious vehicle through which to express this political position. The
Twelfth came to express in a much greater way the alliance of popular
Orangeism and conservative and liberal interests as unionists. Not only were
senior politicians joining the Orange Order, but they began to be seen
regularly at the Twelfth. They would often ride in a carriage at the head of
the parade and then make a speech from the platform. The resolutions
reflected this more overt political relationship. The Conservative Party often
received thanks for its support of the Union and in 1886 there was special
congratulations for those Liberal Party members who helped defeat
Gladstones first Home Rule Bill. That year all the resolutions for the Belfast
parade meeting at Saintfield were party political rather than religious.10
The closeness of the relationship between the fight against Home Rule and
the Orange Institution meant that the Twelfth started to be used as a symbol
of Protestant unity in the cause. Each year the parades were described as
bigger and better than the year before. Each year it was reported in the
unionist press that more members were joining the Institution and
expressing undoubted enthusiasm . . . all over Ulster. In 1900 the Belfast
News Letter reflected that each year seems to witness an increase in the
grandeur and magnificence of the turnout.11 Complaints were made about
those businesses in Belfast that failed to close, so that by 1893 the Twelfth
could be described as a complete and general holiday.12
Significantly, during the last two decades of the nineteenth century, there
was a great increase in the range of people who were depicted on Orange
lodge banners and Orange arches (Jarman 1997a: 6571,1999b: 3743).
In 1884 the Belfast News Letter noted with interest that the image of Lord
Arthur Hill, a large landowner and senior politician, appeared on a banner.
In the years that followed images of local politicians such as Johnston, the
Portadown MP Edward Saunderson and Gustav Wolff, partner of the rapidly
growing Harland and Wolff shipyard, appear on the banners as well as conservatives from over the water like Lord Salisbury and Lord Randolph
Churchill.13 But the use of images on lodge banners showed an even closer
relationship to industrial interests than that implied by the showing of conservative politicians. Many of the lodges existed within particular factories or
trades. Factory owners and managers developed a system of patronage
through the lodges whereby they would offer financial help in the building
of a new lodge or the purchasing of a new banner. By the middle of the 1890s
the Belfast News Letter was full of reports of banner unfurlings, which were
occasions for political rather than religious speeches and took place in the
weeks prior to the Twelfth. Sir Daniel Dixon, the first Mayor of Belfast and
not an Orangeman, donated money to City of Belfast Loyal Orange Lodge
(LOL) 373 and appeared on the banner, but decided it was too partisan to be

Parading Respectable Politics


seen unfurling it. Membership of the Institution was not a prerequisite for a
banner portrait. Factory owner Robert Thompson appeared on the banner
of Mullhouse Total Abstinence LOL 570, and his wife unfurled the banner.
The lodge had formed out of Thompsons Mullhouse factory. However, the
painting of living individuals on banners seems to have come to an
unfortunate end in 1905 when one of the partners of Harland and Wolff
shipyard, William Pirrie, who appeared on a number of banners, showed less
than unanimous support for the Union as a part of a briefly revitalised liberal
group (Morgan 1991: 52). The Grand Lodge passed a resolution that, with
the exception of the monarch, only dead people could appear on a banner.14
By the end of the century the Twelfth had become more fully embraced
than ever before by both the landed aristocracy and, importantly, capitalist
industrial interests in Belfast. Nevertheless, their control remained limited
and the respectability of the events was always under threat. The continual
complaints at the amount of drinking that took place on the Twelfth suggests
that there persisted a strong element of drunken revelry in the days celebrations.15 The Belfast News Letter continued to treat with approval the
demise of the drumming party in favour of better organised bands. By 1896
the number of these more melodic bands had risen to forty or fifty.16 The
continuation of drumming at the Field obviously caused annoyance to those
interested in the religious and political agenda of the speakers, but the Field
itself also held a few other attractions, such as itinerant musicians,
impromptu dances and carts selling refreshment.17 The behaviour of some
of the drumming parties and bands during the days and evenings
surrounding the Twelfth was also not always met with approval. Above all
the Twelfth continued to be the time of year in which rioting was most likely
to take place at particular interfaces between Protestant and Catholic
communities in working-class areas. Carrick Hill and other areas around
north and west Belfast were regular arenas for July confrontations.18 At the
Drumcree church parade in Portadown on 12 July 1885 a Salvation Army
band accompanied by roughs followed the Orangemen through the Tunnel
area playing party tunes and cursing the Pope, despite an apparent
arrangement forbidding Orange bands in that area. The result was a serious
riot in which over forty people were arrested.19 Of all the towns in the north
however, Lurgan most often appears to have been the site for civil disturbances on St Patricks Day and Ladys Day as well as around the Twelfth.
By the end of the nineteenth century, Orangeism and the Twelfth had
become an important part of a more unified Protestant identity. They were
appropriated and embraced by conservative politics, providing an ideal
expression of a new hegemony between an enfranchised Protestant working
class in Belfast and the more united unionist interests of the Protestant
political elite. Nevertheless, this new hegemonic position was never stable
and the first decade of the twentieth century was to reveal class frictions
throughout Orangeism and militant Protestantism.


Orange Parades


The more independent style of Orangeism, mobilised by Johnston, which
resented the alliance of capitalist and landlord controlling the Institution,
did not completely disappear at the start of the 1870s and indeed made a
resurgence in the mid-1880s in Belfast (Patterson 1980: 1218; Wright
1996: 48495). But at the start of the twentieth century, when the perceived
threat of Home Rule temporarily receded, the forces of independent
Orangeism returned. For a short time, from 1903 until 1908, Orangeism,
mixed with a certain amount of radical tenant-right and working-class
politics, threatened the conservative establishment. Part of this threat was
made through an attempt to criticise the Orange Institution as no longer
standing for original Orange principles. Disenchanted Orangemen actually
dared to take on the Orange establishment on that most public of occasions:
the speeches at a Belfast Twelfth. When the Orange Institution disciplined
the brethren for taking part some of the brethren formed a breakaway
movement, the Independent Orange Order (IOO), and appropriated the
Twelfth to their own diverse political interests.
The rise and decline of the IOO has been well documented (Boyle 19623;
Patterson 1980; Campbell 1991: 34860; Morgan 1991). The leaders of
this Orange revolt, Thomas Sloan, Lindsay Crawford and Alex Boyd, reflected
the different strands of opposition to the unionist elite: militant Protestantism, land reform and trade unionism respectively (Morgan 1991:
4359). Their reasons for rebelling all differed but they had in common their
Orangeism. Crawfords newspaper, the Irish Protestant, typified the line taken
in arguing that Orangeism in Belfast has been made a tool to serve the wirepulling of political organisations (quoted in Patterson 1980: 45).
The discontent was apparently sparked by the suggestion that Colonel
Edward Saunderson MP, Grand Master for Belfast, had voted against a clause
in a Bill demanding inspection of convent laundries. However, this was most
probably an excuse to express dissatisfaction over more fundamental issues
and Saunderson and others were perceived as being ineffectual and too close
to the government. In 1901 a party of Orangemen had been involved in disturbances in the small, mainly Catholic town of Rostrevor in County Down.
The following year Rostrevor was selected for a Twelfth parade by Armagh
Orangemen. In response the United Irish League, set up to agitate on the land
question, organised a rally in opposition. The government decided to
proclaim (prohibit) both parades, having taken advice, it was suggested by
some disgruntled Orangemen, from the Earl of Erne and Lord Arthur Hill,
both senior Orangemen.
The Castlereagh meeting at the Belfast Twelfth provided a public forum
for these issues. Resolutions were critical of the Rostrevor decision, but when
Saunderson apparently defended the decision some Orangemen started
heckling.20 It was later in Saundersons speech that, after some heckling
from the audience, Thomas Sloan was hoisted onto the platform and

Parading Respectable Politics


demanded to ask Saunderson some questions. For someone of such a lowly

class position to confront Saunderson in such a way was quite extraordinary. Saunderson denied that he had voted against the clause and Sloan left
the platform. Later Sir James Haslett MP was also heckled. All the other
Twelfth platform speeches included condemnations of the government over
the Rostrevor incident.21
On 17 July William Johnston, the sitting MP for South Belfast, died, and
Sloan decided to stand against the Conservative Associations candidate,
Dunbar-Buller. Both candidates tried to claim to be the rightful heirs of
William Johnston. Sloan argued that Johnston had beaten the wire pullers
and history would repeat itself.22 On Sloans victory the Belfast News Letter
argued that the seat was won for their nominee largely by the Rostrevor
proclamation, for it provoked the split in Orangeism which gave the
candidate his chance.23 A few days prior to the election Saunderson
introduced a resolution condemning Sloans behaviour at the Twelfth
platform and, some months later, refusing to provide a written apology,
Sloan was suspended from the Institution for two years. Others were also
suspended and three lodges had their warrants withdrawn (Boyle 19623:
1245). At a mass meeting on 11 June 1903 resolutions were passed to set
up the Independent Orange Order.
Consequently the Twelfth of 1903 had two competing Orange parades in
Belfast. The IOO parade had about eight lodges and around five hundred men
and the speeches at the Field were full of dissatisfaction with the ruling classes
(Boyle 19623: 1267). On the other hand, the official Twelfth was
reportedly the most imposing ever seen in Belfast and on the platform at
Cloughfern were all those members of the local business elite: Pirrie, Harland,
Wolff and Dunbar-Buller.24 The IOO gained support and the following year
had twenty lodges in the Belfast parade. There was also a significant IOO
parade in Ballymoney where Lindsay Crawford spoke in support of land
reform.25 The IOO was drawing support from two different interest groups:
in Belfast it was working-class discontent and in north Antrim it was the
demands for land reform by tenant farmers (Morgan 1991: 59). What they
shared was populist fundamental Protestantism as expressed through a
supposed return to the first principles of Orangeism (Crawford and
Braithwaite 1904: 62). But such diverse interests were always going to make
an alliance uneasy.
In 1905 the popularity of the IOO neared its peak. That year also saw the
IOO release the Magheramorne Manifesto, surely one of the more remarkable
documents in Irish history. On 14 July 1905 Crawford, accompanied by
Sloan, introduced to a meeting in Magheramorne, County Antrim, attended
by around 1,200 brethren, a political manifesto to which the IOO Imperial
Grand Lodge had signed up. The document suggested that they should
return to the banks of the Boyne to hold out the right hand of fellowship to
those who, whilst worshipping at other shrines, are yet our countrymen
bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. It further argued that we consider


Orange Parades

it is high time that Irish Protestants should consider their position as Irish
citizens and their attitude towards their Roman Catholic countrymen (Boyle
19623: 1345). It also attacked sectarian education and the landlord representatives of both Liberals and Tories. The Magheramorne Manifesto was
not quite a call for Home Rule, but it sounded close enough to elicit support
from the nationalist press and attacks from unionists (Boyle 19623: 1358;
Morgan 1991: 4950). Despite some defections, the Manifesto was endorsed
by lodges of the IOO and by the Banbridge District of the Orange Institution.
Soon afterwards, Sloan, concerned about retaining his seat in South
Belfast, started to distance himself from the document. When the election
arrived in January 1906 he defeated Arthur Hill with many of the tactics he
had used previously, but not by pushing the Magheramorne Manifesto. The
Liberals had some success in Ulster but importantly they had a massive
majority in Westminster. Thus, although they did not have to rely on
nationalist MPs to keep them in power, a Liberal administration was bound
to raise Home Rule fears for unionists. A need for unity within unionism, a
more unionist conservative opposition and a rather too radical-sounding
Grand Master also played upon the diverse tendencies within the
Independent Orange Order. In 1907 Crawford, influenced by Boyd, helped
Larkin during the Belfast labour dispute and his advocating of a form of
Home Rule and attacks on landlords and employers became more outspoken.
Eventually, in May 1908, the Imperial Grand Lodge of the IOO, chaired by
Sloan, suspended Crawford from the Order. In 1910 Crawford emigrated to
Canada. That year Sloan, who had lost the support of temperance lodges,
failed to win his seat (Boyle 19623: 14952; Morgan 1991: 4359). By
1909 there appeared to be only 230 members in Belfast and the base of the
IOO had shifted up to north Antrim where the Institution has remained
relatively strong right through to the present. Although the resolutions
continued to appeal to the working man and political independence, it was
very much fundamental Protestantism, temperance and the protection of
the Sabbath day that were to become the focus of platform resolutions.26


In 1910 the Liberals were returned to power with the support of Irish
nationalist MPs and Home Rule was again on the agenda. In November the
Ulster Unionist Council started the process of obtaining weapons to arm the
Protestants of Ulster and the Orange Institution started a register of brethren
with military skills (Morgan 1991: 125). The two men at the political
forefront of unionist action were Dublin-born lawyer, Edward Carson and a
senior County Down Orangeman, James Craig (Buckland 1980). During the
campaign against the third Home Rule Bill, the Twelfth became part of the
general mobilisation that was taking place. The long and unbroken ranks
of industrious and intelligent men, proudly wearing their regalia were seen

Parading Respectable Politics


as the household troops of the Unionist army.27 Carson called for preparations to be made for the government of a Protestant province of Ulster.28 On
28 September 1912, 237,368 men signed Ulsters Solemn League and
Covenant pledging themselves to stand by one another in defending for
ourselves and our children our cherished position of equal citizenship in the
United Kingdom and in using all means which may be found necessary to
defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland
(Bardon 1992: 437). During a demonstration at the Ulster Hall, Colonel R.H.
Wallace, the County Grand Master of Belfast, appeared with a flag which
had apparently been carried at the Battle of the Boyne, although it was later
claimed by the Irish News to be a fake.29 Ulster Day, 28 September, became
part of Orange folk history.
As the Home Rule Bill progressed through Parliament during 1912 and
1913, further preparations were made. In January 1912 the Ulster
Volunteer Force (UVF) was established. Not surprisingly a high proportion
of its recruits were Orangemen and local corps were soon training on the
demesnes of well-known landowners, much as the Volunteers had in the
eighteenth century (Bardon 1992: 440). The drills of the UVF were reflected
in the parades as tall, broad shouldered well dressed young men . . . marched
along with the steady step of soldiers.30 As such, by 1914 the public are
assured that the personnel, showed in convincing manner that the months
devoted to drilling have not been spent in vain.31 Carson was involved in
the presentation of UVF colours on the days preceding the Twelfth and there
are reports of UVF flags being carried in the parade.32 The contradictions
involved in setting up the UVF, and a possible provisional government, to
oppose the forces of the Crown, whilst professing loyalty, was made clear in
Carsons Twelfth speech.
If they try we must resist them with all our might and main (cheers). Somebody may
well say I am talking a good deal of illegality. Well I am prepared for the consequences
(cheers). For my own part I know nothing about legality and illegality (laughter). I
mean as regards myself. All I think of is my Covenant (cheers). My Covenant to me is
the text and foundation of what is illegality and what is legality . . .33

Not for the first nor last time the Twelfth involved professing loyalty to the
Crown whilst acting to mobilise to opposition the forces and representatives
of the Crown.
In 1914 Britain went to war, and with this new situation the economic,
political and symbolic structures within which loyalist commemorations
took place were to change. At the outbreak of the war the Home Rule Bill
was put aside, despite having gained royal assent. Both the UVF and John
Redmonds Irish Volunteers were pledged for the cause. The majority of the
UVF went to become a large part of the 36th (Ulster) Division, the 16th (Irish)
Division being largely drawn from the Volunteers. On 1 July 1916 it was the
36th (Ulster) Division that spearheaded the attack at the Battle of the Somme.
Within two days 5,500 men were killed or wounded (Bardon 1992: 455),


Orange Parades

and back in Belfast press reports of the glorious push were soon joined by the
lists of the casualties. Orangeism had a blood sacrifice and renewed military
and political legitimacy.
The speeches from the platform during the Belfast Twelfth in 1917 suggest
the importance the Battle of the Somme was to come to play in the Orange
Institutions commemorations. Colonel Wallace spoke of the new glorious
first of July since it coincidentally took place on the same date as the Battle
of the Boyne using the old calendar. He recounted that men had sashes over
their shoulders and drove the enemy before them on the banks of the
Somme, as their fathers had done 226 years before on the banks of the
Boyne.34 The previous Sunday, 1 July, special services, organised by the
Orange Institution, had taken place at churches all over the north of Ireland.
The following year Carson made a thirty-five-minute speech at the Twelfth,
connecting the sacrifice of the 36th (Ulster) Division with the unionist cause.
Many Orangemen wore the decorations they had received during the war
and at the Twelfth in 1919 a new lodge Ulster Division Memorial LOL 977
paraded for the first time and already there were banners depicting the
recently fought battles (Jarman 1997a: 712, 1999b: 447).35


Disturbances at parades remained commonplace. In 1906 Carrick Hill saw
rioting and in 1909 there was serious civil disorder on the Grosvenor Road
which was followed by three days of riots on the Falls Road and disturbances
in Portadown. This situation may well have arisen because of the increasing
strength of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), which had 60,000
members by 1909 (Bardon 1992: 424). The AOH can be traced back to the
Ribbonmen in the 1830s but grew in the first decade of the twentieth century
and appears very much as a Catholic version of the Orange Order, organising
parades, wearing green sashes and carrying banners. In the early 1900s it
became more forthright in organising demonstrations and therefore
contesting the control of public space. In 1905 swarms of police protected
Ladys Day AOH demonstrations in Kilrea and Lurgan. In 1908 they paraded
in Pomeroy three days after the Orange Order had paraded through the
town, and were also forced to abandon a parade in Poyntzpass.36 In 1909
over 600 police in Portadown were unable to prevent trouble as the AOH
paraded to the railway station carrying a green flag and there were riots on
the parades return which spread to Lurgan. The official police report blamed
an Orange crowd.37 On 29 June 1912 at Castledawson in County
Londonderry, where an AOH parade attacked a parade of Presbyterian
school children. Catholic school children were attacked in Lisburn the day
after, but Castledawson caught the loyalist imagination: Remember Castledawson became the watchword of the next few years. More significantly
there was a wave of expulsions of Catholic workers at the Belfast docks and

Parading Respectable Politics


factories, and major disturbances in Belfast. There were other parading

clashes in July and August involving the Orange Order and the AOH
(Patterson 1980: 89; Morgan 1991: 12830; Bardon 1992: 436).38 The
following year the AOH organised a parade in Garvagh, County Derry, the
first Catholic parade in the town since disturbances at a Ribbon parade in
1813. Although the chairman of a meeting of Orangemen in Coleraine
recommended that no opposition should be put up, members decided to
organise a parade for the same day. In the end the government decided to
proclaim both parades.39
After the war disturbances at parades intensified. Easter 1916 had seen a
group of Irish republicans stage a failed uprising, but the execution of its
leaders gave the Irish republicanism movement unprecedented support. By
1918 Sinn Fin were winning by-elections in the south and the debate over
Ireland was moving back to the top of the political agenda. On 3 July, in an
attempt to maintain public order, the government introduced an order
proclaiming all assemblies or processions in public places in the whole of
Ireland, although this appeared not to include the Boyne parades.40 But the
politics of the north of Ireland was again expressed through the right to
march. The Apprentice Boys took part in the Relief of Derry parade and there
were five Royal Black Institution parades on 12 August. The AOH insisted
that their Lady Day celebrations should be allowed to take place. They
attempted processions in Belfast, Garvagh and Omagh but all were
obstructed in some way by the police. Members of Sinn Fin were arrested in
Dublin and in Irvinestown, County Fermanagh, when they took part in a
meeting and there were disturbances in Strabane.41
In January 1919 the Sinn Fin members set up a Parliament of Ireland,
the Dil Eirean, and shortly afterwards military actions took place under the
name of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Unionist MPs were prepared to
settle for a six-county state within the province of Ulster. Of more immediate
concern, however, was the impending armed conflict with republicans.
Between April and June 1920, Derry had seen serious rioting and gun battles
between the UVF and IRA, with the army intervening in support of the UVF
(Bardon 1992: 4689). All parades within 5 miles of Derry were proclaimed.
Extra military forces were brought in for the Twelfth to be held in Belfast.
There were disturbances in Sandy Row in late June and additional
precautions were taken by the police. The parade appears to have passed off
without incident as the Orangemen walked at a brisk pace proving
themselves to be endowed with a physical stamina which makes them
worthy representatives of the sturdy British race.42 There was much
excitement as Carson spoke from one of two platforms, threatening to
reorganise the UVF to defend the Province, although he received criticism
in the British press for this. When workers returned after the July holiday,
Carsons threat seemed to be brought into effect as Catholics were expelled
from many of the major docks and factories (Bardon 1992: 4724). By the
end of August the army was operating a curfew in Belfast.


Orange Parades

It is always difficult to tell the exact strength of the Orange Institution at a
particular time. It is estimated that between 1908 and 1913 the numbers of
Orangemen in Belfast more than doubled from 8,834 to 18,800 (Bew et al.
1995: 24). There was apparently an Orange revival in 1907 and 1908 with
a return to the old fervour. There was a clear and continuing attempt by
senior Orangemen to marginalise the less reputable elements of the parades.
Drumming parties were continually derided and seem to play their part more
on the days leading up to the Twelfth, particularly at the Eleventh Night
bonfire, rather than on the Twelfth itself. Many of the bands, brass, flute and
pipe, were connected to, and funded by, local factories, Orange lodges and
Conservative Associations.43 Also in the parade were plenty of dignitaries
in open carriages.44 In other words, the parades would bring all classes
together, as long as they were not too rough, and the upper class did not
have to walk. Indeed, the size and decorum of the Twelfth was used as an
index of the vitality of Ulster Protestantism.
In recent years strong measures have been taken to expunge from the ranks what
might be described as undesirables members who bring disgrace on their colours
and each year the Order is becoming stronger in a better class of member. Indeed one
of the features of yesterdays procession was the manly upset bearing of the men, their
respectable appearance, and their evident determination to show by their example
that they are true Orangemen in deed as well as in name. . . . Several of the lodges
were largely composed of young men tall, broad shouldered, well dressed and as
they marched along with the steady step of soldiers they were heartily cheered at
different points.45

This relationship between the respectability and stirling manhood and

character of the men taking part in the Twelfth was a strong feature of the
way the Belfast News Letter covered the event through this period. Belfast,
Irelands greatest city, saw thousands, bone and sinew, the brain and
muscle, unite to commemorate . . . the Boyne. The procession demonstrates
strength, and is a proclamation of power and influence.46
The middle of the nineteenth century saw Orangeism reflect many of the
processes of modernisation that Ulster itself was going through. There was
a shift of power from rural proto-industrial areas to Belfast, from country
landowners to industrial entrepreneurs, from tenant farmer to labour
aristocracy. Industrial Ulster became dependent upon British imperialism
(Gibbon 1975: 103). The fifty years from 1870 to 1920 saw the Orange
Institution develop from a relatively localised, rural and politically marginal
organisation to one that dominated the political and economic structures of
the urbanising north of Ireland. It proved to be an institution capable of
supporting a system of labour patronage. More importantly it was utilised
by both the land- and industry-owning classes to create an identity around
which unionism could develop in opposition to Home Rule. If the factory

Parading Respectable Politics


owners patronised the Institution with money for lodges and banners,
unionist politicians used the Twelfth to try to express a cross-class, Protestant
and unionist identity. There was an ongoing attempt to make the event
respectable. The discipline and behaviour of the ranks of men marching
with their Orange sashes was contrasted with the rebels who would lay
siege to Orange parades. Those elements of the parades which did not
conform to this image, such as the drumming parties, were marginalised.
The consumption of alcohol was either disapproved of or ignored. After
William Johnston revealed the political potency of the Twelfth of July, the
ruling class set about attempting to control the event.
The control however, was constantly being undermined by class divisions.
The interest of tenants and landowners, workers and employers, as expressed
through their unity as Protestants, were always diverse. Not only did the
Twelfth have a carnivalesque and sectarian aspect that could always
embarrass those seeking political control, but Orangeism itself could be
utilised for limited class confrontation and resistance to the Orange elite. As
such, the actions of William Johnston, and later Thomas Sloan and Lindsay
Crawford, served to remind the ruling elite of the fragility of Orange unity. If
the Protestant workforce felt that its interests were not being looked after,
the July celebrations could also be used to make that dissatisfaction clear.
As a resource for political power the parades had their limitations. Use of
the parades was limited by the practical employment parades were put to in
the displaying of dominance by one community over another William
Johnstons attempt at equality of parading reached those limits. Use of the
parades was limited by the internal ideological structure of Orangeism
Lindsay Crawford took it to those limits. They were limited by the relationship of the different class interests within Orangeism Independent
Orangeism reminded the Grand Lodge of those limits. Political utilisation of
the parades was also limited by the unpalatability of Orangeism to English
liberals and some conservatives. The consequence of reaching those limits
was that parades could be prohibited. The Orange Institution was used by
the state and by different upper-class interests when it served their purposes.
When it did not serve those purposes, the parades continued to be utilised
by the lower classes in particular areas.
Organisations which have this kind of significance, however manipulable they may
be, or appear to be, do not just disappear or fade away when the calculations of their
manipulators dictate that they are expendable. (Wright 1996: 151)

After 1920, with formation of Northern Ireland, new relationships of control

were formed and the limitations changed. The Twelfth could now become a
celebration of the new quasi-state.


When a political group gains power its symbols join the symbolic structure of the
state. In contemporary nation states there usually exists a standard set of national
symbols (emblem, flag, national anthem) which are officially recognised, unambiguously defined and protected by law. (Mach 1993: 106)

From 1921 to 1972, the period during which Northern Ireland had a local
Parliament, the Orange Institution was in a position of great political power.
The Orange Institution had 122 of 760 seats on the Ulster Unionist Council
the ruling body of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the majority of the
other seats would have been taken by members of the Order. Of the 149
unionists elected to the Northern Ireland House of Commons between 1921
and 1969, 95 did not make the cabinet, of whom 87 were Orangemen. All
Northern Irelands Prime Ministers were Orangemen and only three
members of the cabinet during that time were not in the Orange Order
although three others resigned or were expelled after achieving their post.
During much of this period Orange halls were used as meeting places for
unionist constituency associations (Harbinson 1973: 903). Although it is
not possible to produce statistical evidence, it is also clear that many civil
servants and policemen were in the Orange Order (Weitzer 1995: 34). Under
these conditions the Twelfth parades became rituals of state.
The Twelfth of July demonstrations which Ulster stages every year form in a general
way a grand inquest at which political and other matters affecting the whole
community come under review.1

Senior politicians spoke on many of the platforms and what they had to say
was effectively government policy. The speeches made at the Twelfth by
James Craig or Basil Brooke, Northern Irelands first and third Prime
Ministers, reviewed the previous year in government and set out an agenda
for the future. In doing so they were drawing on the legitimacy of the ritual
occasion. They were demanding support and loyalty by staking a claim to
be conforming with the principles of Orangeism. On the majority of these
occasions the resolutions prepared by the Orange Institution congratulated
the government and the Prime Minster on their service to Northern Ireland.
Since those in government were not so different from those in the Grand
Lodge, such mutual political reinforcement was not surprising. In this sense

Rituals of State


it is difficult to argue with Farrells general description of Northern Ireland

during the period as the Orange State (Farrell 1980).
In contrast to the dominance of Orange parades, emergency powers under
the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act 1922 and a Protestant-dominated
police force meant that public displays and demonstrations by constitutional
Irish nationalism, such as those by the Hibernians, were restricted, and
republican events, particularly the Easter commemorations, were routinely
banned. Whilst this situation eased somewhat in the 1950s, the unionist
government still saw it as necessary to introduce legislation in 1951 to
control parades through the Public Order Act (NI). The legislation required
that the police be given 48 hours notification of a parade unless the
procession was customarily held along a particular route. In other words,
traditional Orange parades were exempt whereas nationalist, and particularly republican events, which had been restricted or used irregular venues,
had to give notification (Bryson and McCartney 1994; Hadden and Donnelly
1997: 1921). As such, the development of nationalist and Catholic and
unionist and Protestant parading traditions was closely related to their
power within the northern state (Jarman and Bryan 1998: 4158).


Many reasons can be put forward for the particular form which the state of
Northern Ireland took. Any vague ideas concerned with tolerance and the
protection of minority views, that the new Prime Minister, James Craig,
may have had do not seem to have been sustained for long (Bew et al.
1995: 12). Whether it was fear of a Dublin administration, or British policy
on Ireland, or the attitude of northern Catholics, or the internal dynamics
of Ulster unionism, the government of Northern Ireland made little effort
to tackle the alienation felt by the Catholic minority. Government policy
continued with a sectarian popularist strategy so often appealed to by
unionists over the previous fifty years. The B-Specials, a part-time armed
police force drawn from the UVF and Orange Order, was never likely to win
support in the Catholic community. By abolishing proportional representation and re-drawing local electoral boundaries, unionists even controlled
councils with a majority Catholic population. Catholics were also effectively
excluded from any important roles within the civil service. Although it was
not until 1934 that Craig notoriously spoke of a Protestant Parliament for
a Protestant people such a position was broadly implicit from 1921 (Farrell
1980: 815; Buckland 1981: 245; Bardon 1992: 474500; Bew et al.
1995: 2154).
The Twelfth soon became a ritualised focus for the unionist government.
The speeches from the Twelfth platform became a state of the nation
occasion with the unionist politicians being thanked in the resolutions for
their work. Even by 1923 there was a sense of security returning to the


Orange Parades

events, the Belfast News Letter claiming that there was a reduction in party
tunes compared to the past. Bew et al. have suggested that there were two
unionist blocks, one under Craig was populist in that it was generally keen
on state intervention and, in particular, encouraging the close relationship
of government with the Protestant working classes. The anti-populist group
were keener on maintaining stricter control of finance and were uneasy with
the developing sectarian nature of the Northern Ireland civil service. The
role of the Orange Institution, as part of the populist armoury, was to ensure
the non-employment of Catholics in public services (Buckland 1981: 63;
Bew et al. 1995: 5563). The economic situation, however, particularly
within industry, was worsening and unemployment headed upwards. As a
result, with unionism becoming more secure, class interests became more
distinctive. Under these conditions there was a shift in the politics of the
Twelfth. For a short time the new enemy was not republicanism, but
Socialism and Bolshevism. The resolutions in 1924 contained one which
criticised the insidious attacks through socialist propaganda and speeches
attacked the followers of Marx.2 In 1925 three candidates of the Labour
Party, Northern Ireland, were elected in Belfast and this, along with the
return of some sitting independent unionists, reduced the number of UUP
MPs from forty to thirty-two. Also that year Dawson Bates, the Home
Secretary, decided to ban a mass march through Belfast being organised by
the Unemployed Workers Committee, the Belfast Trades Council and the
Labour Party (Farrell 1980: 1223). By 1926 and 1927 anti-socialist
rhetoric dominated the speeches with much talk of Russian hirelings, Selfadvertising Socialists, Bolshevists, and Communists. At the same time
Craig was prepared to talk about the Free State as the friendly neighbours.3
The Twelfth parades however remained events at which diverse political
interests albeit unionist interests could express themselves. The interests
of senior Orangemen were usually, but not always, the same as those of the
government, whilst the interests of particular sections of the Orange Order
could differ on specific issues. For instance, policies and legislation on
education during the 1920s and 1930s were regularly the cause for
contention which could reveal itself in speeches critical of the government
from platform speakers at the Twelfth or in the form of heckling from the
brethren. In 1931, government suggestions that the Protestant clergy
should not have control of primary teacher training at Stranmillis College
produced a clear split amongst platform speakers. Where government
ministers were in attendance criticism of the government was reasonably
polite and deferential, but in rural areas such as Coagh, Dunloy and the
Clougher Valley, where no government ministers were present, speakers
were outspoken. One Orangeman demanded leaders who were not ashamed
to march with the ordinary rank and file, a criticism of the Prime Minister
who had not been seen at some recent Twelfths.4
The relationship between the governing elite and sections of rank and file
was not always harmonious and the parades could provide a vehicle for

Rituals of State


limited resistance in spite of the pressures for deference that existed. In 1937
there were a number of critical speeches made at Cloughmills, Dungannon
and Glenarm, about the unionist government in general, whereas again at
platforms where government ministers were present there were speeches
strongly in defence of the administrations policies. The reaction to the critical
speeches indicates the way the government could use a call to unity to stifle
other voices. The Belfast News Letter editorial on the following day is typical.
Those who profess to be staunch unionists and yet deliver speeches which tend to
discredit the government might well ponder the reason for the enthusiastic reception
of their criticisms by political enemies.
Anything therefore which is calculated to cast discredit on the Ulster government
and can be regarded as a significant portent of its downfall is the utmost value for
Republican Party purposes, as it revives the partys hope that it may yet secure control
of the Province and make it part of a Gaelic and Catholic State owing no allegiance
to the crown.5

Tensions derived from class interests, from the diversity of Protestantism and
from different understandings of Orangeism itself were always capable of
revealing themselves. The stock answer for the political elite was always that
divisions or any perceived lack of support for the government was effectively
support for Irish nationalism. Control of the Twelfth as an event remained
difficult even though the UUP, and through it senior Orangemen, had
achieved an unprecedented position of power. The populist nature of the
Twelfth parades meant that, at least to a certain extent, unionist politicians
could appear to be held to account for their actions when they made
appearances. As such, discourses of respectability, ritual pressures of
deference and calls for unity were clearly key strategies for senior political
figures remaining in the ascendancy.
In 1926 the Twelfth was made a Public and Bank Holiday in Northern
Ireland, giving it the sort of official state recognition that it had not enjoyed
since the demise of the Dublin commemorations over a hundred years earlier.
The following year the Grand Lodge of Belfast purchased a field at Finaghy,
in the south of the city, which meant that the Institutions largest parade
began to develop a set annual route. Although the County lodge specifically
pointed out that it would go to other parts of the city, difficulties in obtaining
alternative venues meant that only in 1928 and 1934 did the main parade
take a route anywhere but south out of the city, along the Lisburn Road. The
number of lodges in Belfast had also grown from 210 in 1912 to 243 in 1922
and 268 in 1927. Whilst this is not necessarily an indicator of a growth in
membership it suggests at least a sustained popularity within the city.
The July commemorations show some changes during the later part of
the 1920s and into the 1930s. Forms of street decoration, such as Orange
arches and wall murals, flourished (Jarman 1997a: 724) and there seems
to have been an increase in the number of bonfires on the Eleventh Night
when bands paraded to the bonfire and children danced around singing


Orange Parades

patriotic songs. There were even gramophone records played. Drumming

parties were by now rare during the Twelfth parade itself and also less
common on the preceding nights, although they were still found on the
Shankill and complaints in the press about their behaviour continued. There
was also a suggestion that there were fewer party tunes at the Twelfth, with
the introduction of some modern tunes and military marches. There were a
wide variety of bands brass, flute, pipe, concertina, bugle and accordion
which, according to reports, showed a definite improvement in quality.6
Orangemen attended Somme commemorative services that took place on
a Sunday near 1 July, with some lodges parading to the service. There were
some local parades for the unfurling of new banners or to take a banner to
the house of a new lodge Master. Orangemen also marched from lodge halls
to church services on the Sunday before the Twelfth. On the Twelfth, the
Orangemen in Belfast paraded four abreast, generally dressed in a suit,
although far from all wore a dark suit and bowler hat. Many wore brown,
grey or tweed suits, with a soft felt hat, trilby or a cap. Sometimes the bannerbearers would break into a sort of dancing walk, setting the banner swaying
gaily from side to side.7 Apart from the Union Jack, there were also a
number of Canadian and American flags carried in recognition of Orangeism
over the Atlantic.
During the 1920s and 1930s there was rarely any question over whether
an Orange parade should take place. Indeed, in 1930 there was a Twelfth
parade in Rostrevor, the first since 1903. The last Saturday in August was
added to the Twelfth and 13 July, and 12 August as an important parading
occasion. The Royal Black Preceptories, or Black Institution, had grown in
respectability and importance from the middle of the nineteenth century. It
developed into a more exclusive organisation than the Orange, and concentrated on the religious aspect of Orangeism. The banners tended to depict
stories from the Old Testament rather than the political events and figures
more common on Orange banners (Buckley 1985; Jarman 1997a: 1847).
Specific Black parades became more common in the early 1900s. The
parade and Sham Fight at Scarva on 13 July appears to have become an
event specifically for the Blackmen of Down, Armagh and Belfast in the first
quarter of the twentieth century. There were also Black parades in the middle
of August to mark the Relief of Derry. The Black Last Saturday in August
may have developed first in Scotland and then become more common in
Northern Ireland after the Great War (Jarman 1997a: 73). By the 1920s
there were parades at six venues reflecting the geography of Northern
Ireland, and senior politicians made important and well reported speeches
just as they would for the Twelfth. The Junior Orange Lodges were formed
from the First World War onwards, holding parades and coming under the
control of the Grand Lodge in 1925 (Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland 1995:
43). During the 1930s the Apprentice Boys of Derry started a new parade
that took place on Easter Monday to counter the republican Easter parades
that had developed (Apprentice Boys of Derry 1989).

Rituals of State


Any sense in which the parades were proving uncontentious in the late
1920s seems to have dissipated in 1931 and 1932 as a number of factors
raised the tensions between north and south. The Twelfth of 1931 had a
resolution warning of the insidious propaganda of the Roman Catholic
Church and this was followed by conflict over Orange and Black parades in
the south. Orangeism in the Free State had not been strong for many years
but there were Orange lodges in counties such as Donegal, Monaghan and
Cavan. As the new Irish state began to settle, there were Orange parades. In
Clones, County Monaghan, forty lodges paraded in 1923 with the County
Grand Master claiming, perhaps bitterly, that they owed nothing to the
British and that as Orangemen in the Free State they would be good citizens
and good neighbours.8 There were parades in Monaghan and Cavan up until
1931. That year the IRA stopped a parade in Newtowngore, County Leitrim,
and there was trouble at parades in County Monaghan (Bardon 1992:
5356). In Cootehill, County Cavan, the local IRA issued a proclamation to
stop a Black parade in the town commemorating the Relief of Derry,
describing the organisers as the Imperialist agents of Great Britain.9
Reaction in Northern Ireland was predictable with serious disturbances
taking place in Armagh and Lisburn. In Portadown the B-Specials were
mobilised after two buses full of Hibernian members were attacked on their
way to and from a demonstration in Armagh. Disturbances continued over
the next few days with the Belfast News Letter blaming republicans and the
Hibernians for provocatively parading through a loyalist area in Armagh,
and pointing to the superior way the police had dealt with these incidents
compared to the actions of liberal administrations prior to the formation of
the northern state.10 In following years Orangemen from the south tended
to come north to attend demonstrations.
Tension was further raised when the Fianna Fil Party, led by de Valera,
came to power in the Free State in 1932. He immediately set about removing
the oath of fidelity to the Crown and refused to make the payment to Britain
which had been agreed under the Treaty. In return Britain put duties on Irish
imports, thus instituting an economic war (Bardon 1992: 436). Further, the
political battle between parties in the south was often conducted by trying to
gain legitimacy from the Roman Catholic Church. It was not unusual for
policies to be defended with reference to papal encyclicals (Lee 1989:
15774). Such politics reinforced the fears of northern Protestants and
played into the hands of unionist politicians.
On St Patricks Day 1932 two people were injured when an Hibernian
parade in South Derry was fired on (Farrell 1980: 136). From 22 to 26 June
the Roman Catholic Church held an International Eucharist Congress in
Dublin. Catholic areas in Northern Ireland prepared by decorating the streets
and many people travelled down to the event. On their return, however,
many of the special trains and buses were attacked. Incidents took place in
Banbridge, Kilkeel, Larne, Lisburn, Loughbrickland, Lurgan and Portadown
(Farrell 1980: 1367; Bardon 1992: 5379). A few days later the North


Orange Parades

Belfast Accordion Band was attacked on the Crumlin Road during a Somme
commemoration and a riot ensued (BNL 2 July 1932). Unusually, one
parade to an Orange church service, through the predominantly Catholic
town of Coalisland in County Tyrone, was re-routed, as the local police chief
thought they were not taking their usual route. An angry local lodge Master
was quick to point out the relationship between the Orange Institution and
the government.
The government has been placed in power with the assistance of Orange brethren,
and if that government could not afford them reasonable protection the sooner a
change was made the better. (Thomas Nevin, Master of Coalisland LOL 93)11

On the Twelfth they were allowed to march right through Coalisland.

Orange arches appeared with Ulster will not submit to De Valera written
on them and the Belfast News Letter warned that dignitaries of the Roman
Catholic church have gone out of their way to attack Protestantism. 12 At
most of the demonstrations there was criticism of the southern state and particularly of de Valeras attempt to get rid of the oath of allegiance. At
Poyntzpass, Prime Minister Craig expressed a theme that was to be much
repeated in later years: Ours is a Protestant Government, and I am an
Orangeman.13 There were riots in west Belfast after a party of men had
apparently attempted to bring down an Orange Arch and Catholic pubs in
Dungannon were attacked (Farrell 1980: 136).14
Despite these incidents there was considerable working-class cooperation
in Belfast in demanding greater measures to relieve the poverty that so many
people were suffering. There may have been few questions over Orange
parades, but the same could not be said for other forms of public demonstration. During October 1932 working-class agitation was so great that the
police banned a demonstration that was to have starting points in all parts
of Belfast. When the ban was enforced, rioting broke out in parts of the city,
particularly on the Falls and Shankill. As the rioting continued over a
number of days the government attempted to blame Catholics for their
disloyalty and to point the finger at the IRA (Farrell 1980: 12730; Bardon
1992: 5279). As so often in the past, working-class solidarity was quickly
broken. The year of 1932, that had started with the election of de Valera in
the Free State, ended, rather aptly, with the opening of a splendid new
Parliament building at Stormont to the east of the city (Officer 1996). In
between times unionist control of public space was obvious. Whilst Catholics
had been attacked in June and workers batoned in October, the Twelfth
allowed the full expression of a Protestant state.


I can assure you that the policy of the future will be the policy of the past, and that will
be no surrender to the disintegrating forces of this country. I am an Orangeman to
the heart and always an Orangeman . . . (James Craig, the Twelfth 1933)15

Rituals of State


The period leading up to the Second World War saw little within unionism
by way of a challenge to the relationship between the Orange Institution and
the administration. Twelfth demonstrations contained consistent calls for
unity. De Valeras position in the Free State was strengthening. His introduction of a new constitution in 1937, including articles laying claim to the
six counties of Northern Ireland and enshrining the Roman Catholic Church
as having a special position within the state, provided legitimacy for the
northern government in its constructed Protestant state. Craig saw it as quite
suitable that the southern government should govern for Catholics and that
the northern government should recognise Protestant ideas and Protestant
desires (Bardon 1992: 543). Indeed unionist politicians had been quite
blatant about the nature of the state of Northern Ireland. Future Prime
Minister, Sir Basil Brooke, at a platform speech at the Twelfth in Newtownbutler, Fermanagh, in 1933, argued that since Roman Catholics were out
to destroy the power and constitution of Ulster then loyalists should only
employ Protestant lads and lassies. Craig was quick in support of his Cabinet
Ministers views (Bardon 1992: 538).
During the marching season in 1935 sectarian bitterness culminated in
the worst rioting in Belfast since the 19202 period. Parades by Orangemen
and Protestant bands were heavily implicated and for four days Dawson
Bates, the Home Affairs minister, actually banned all parades. Sectarian
attacks had become more frequent in Belfast since the early 1930s, the Ulster
Protestant League had been particularly active in promoting militant
Protestant issues since 1931, and, as suggested above, senior politicians
attempted to sustain unity by scapegoating Catholics as the real enemy. It
appears that the celebration of George Vs Jubilee increased tensions still
further. Dock ward, a small area of tightly packed terrace houses just north
of the city centre, felt the tension most keenly. The area contained both
Protestants and Catholics though they were divided locally at street level.
Attacks on houses and workers took place in May and, after a shooting on 17
June, Bates introduced the parade ban. His decision was all the more
surprising as Dawson Bates was known as one of the more Orange of
unionist politicians. It has been suggested that the decision was a knee-jerk
reaction under pressure from Sir Charles Wickham, the Inspector General
of the RUC (Hepburn 1990: 79). Belfast Grand Master Sir Joseph Davison
warned that they were going to have their demonstration no matter what
restrictions were placed upon us.16 In fact, it only took four days before
Dawson Bates ended the ban and even during the ban, on 23 June, an
Orange parade took place unimpeded by the police (Hepburn 1990: 79).
The returning Twelfth parade ended in clashes along York Street, blame
for which was disputed. By the end of the night two Protestants and two
Catholics had been shot dead. The following days, from 13 to 21 July, saw
serious rioting in Belfast, particularly in the Dock area, with many Catholics
being burned out of their homes. People in 430 Catholic and 64 Protestant
houses had been forcibly evicted. In some areas these pogroms were clearly


Orange Parades

systematic. Seven Protestants and three Catholics were dead and 55

Catholics and 28 Protestants seriously injured. Even after a return to work
on 22 July, some Catholics were expelled from their work places (Hepburn
1990: 83). Such trouble was not confined to Belfast, with similar disturbances also taking place in Coleraine, Lisburn and Portadown, and there
were also some attacks on Protestants in Limerick.17
Explanations for these particular disturbances can range from land
hunger (the need for housing), to specific local politics, poor policing and
sectarian tensions. What is indisputable is that, yet again, the July parades
provided the focus. As with major riots in the previous century, senior
Orangemen distanced themselves from events over which they clearly had
little direct control. The Grand Lodge of Belfast issued a statement blaming
nationalists for boycotting the Silver Jubilee celebrations thus raising
tensions in the city.18 Nevertheless, a certain amount of organisation went
into the evictions and certainly in the Donegall Road area, in south Belfast,
a local prominent Orangeman was involved (Hepburn 1990: 91). In Britain
a report by the National Council for Civil Liberties looking into the Special
Powers Act expressed damning views on the actions of the Stormont
government. Efforts by nationalists to get Westminster to intervene proved
fruitless (Farrell 1980: 1401; Hepburn 1990: 906).
Events in the lower Dock area seemed to have been aggravated by the
activities of a Glasgow Billy Boys band who also brought a considerable
number of strangers into the area (Hepburn 1990: 82). Even before the
Twelfth, fourteen members of the Beresford Accordion band and fifteen
members of St Marys Accordion band had appeared in court on charges of
a breach of the peace following disturbances after a Somme Anniversary
parade. A nationalist politician particularly singled out the bands and their
followers parading in the city as being highly provocative.19 A letter to the
Belfast News Letter the following year also gave that impression.
In contrast to the quiet and dignified marching of the Orange lodges we had various
juvenile bands with female followers who waved party emblems and sang and shouted
provocative expressions towards Roman Catholics. It is scandalous that these irresponsibilities should be allowed to parade on the streets at all. . . . I could not help
wondering what a visitor from the wilder portions of New Guinea would think of
white superiority if he could be transplanted to such a scene. (T.H. Mayes, Ulster
Reform Club)20

Indeed, during this period accordion bands, rather than drumming parties,
seem to have been the dominant form of musical expression, considerably
outnumbering brass and flute bands on the Twelfth. A lot of small local bands
formed with little in the way of uniforms except that they might have all
worn the same type of cap.21 In Belfast they appear to fulfil the role in
working-class areas that the drumming parties might have played thirty
years earlier, and blood and thunder bands filled forty years later.

Rituals of State


The Twelfth of 1936 was heavily policed with armoured cars, and the BSpecials were mobilised. The Belfast News Letter suggested that the
Orangemen would be as disciplined as always, but warned loyalists who were
not Orangemen to leave it to the police to deal with attacks upon
processions.22 In fact, the Twelfth for this year, and the next three years, was
relatively free of incident. By 1938 and 1939 the renewed threat from the
IRA and the prospect of war with Germany started to dominate the speeches.
As ever, the unionist press claimed record numbers.
The outstanding feature of the procession yesterday was the excellent marching
discipline that prevailed. A quicker pace than usual was maintained and some lodges
displayed uniformity of dress dark clothes, bowler hats, white gloves, black boots or
shoes which gave them quite a soldierly appearance.
There were many fine bands turned out like guardsmen and the musical
standard was excellent.23

During the Second World War, as during the Great War, senior Orangemen
decided that the war effort was more important than customary celebrations.
With the odd exception, Twelfth commemorations were abandoned from
1940 through to 1944. There were church services in commemoration of
the Somme and the Boyne, but the July period, particularly in 1940 and
1941, passed by almost unremarked upon in the press.


The post-war period is particularly interesting because it comprised the
formative years of many of those senior within Orangeism during the
Troubles (from 1969 onwards). It is well within living memory and thus
forms a backdrop to many of the arguments over the tradition of parading
that came to prominence in the late 1960s, mid-1980s and again in the mid1990s. The post-war Twelfth is remembered as a relaxed, good-humoured
time when politics was of secondary importance during what was perceived
as a religious event. It is recalled, by way of anecdotes: that Protestants and
Catholics, the Orange Order and the Hibernians, shared instruments and
banner poles in country areas; that whole communities shared pride in, and
collected money for, the local bands; and that Roman Catholics went to
watch the pageantry of the Twelfth parade. However, whilst Catholics will
confirm some of these stories, and an analysis of the period confirms it to be
untroubled compared with the previous 150 years, parades still provided a
focus for local politics and could still prove divisive. In 1951 Stormont
introduced a Public Order Act that effectively allowed for the suppression of
nationalist parades, normalising what had been the position under the
Special Powers Act (Jarman and Bryan 1998: 4158). That was followed,
in 1954, by the Flags and Emblems Act which effectively protected the Union
flag wherever it flew in Northern Ireland and allowed for the removal of the


Orange Parades

Irish Tricolour if the RUC felt good public order required such action (Bryson
and McCartney 1994: 1448).
The idea that the period from 1945 to the mid-1960s was a golden era for
Orangeism also resides in memories Orangemen have of the happy and
unfettered nature of the parades themselves. The hegemonic dominance of
respectable elite or middle-class Orangeism, the development of which I
have traced above, may well have reached its zenith but it was never totally
dominant. It relied upon the ability of the unionist elite to sustain its relationship with the Protestant working class. Resistance still appeared in the
form of more rowdy and informal elements within the parade and
opposition from nationalists. Limits imposed on how Orangemen and
bandsmen should behave were questioned and, just occasionally, parades
that even the state found difficult to legitimise took place in nationalist areas.
Initially the Twelfth in Belfast after the war reflected the lack of material
and finances. Bands were less numerous, lodges were depleted, transport to
the parades restricted, collarettes rather than sashes (the older style sash
was larger and worn over one shoulder running down to the hip and up the
Orangemans back) were becoming even more common, there were fewer
arches, smaller bonfires, and there were no lambeg drums. Nevertheless,
even in 1946 the Belfast News Letter was yet again claiming there would be
a record Twelfth.24 In 1948 121 bands took part, with pipe and silver bands
apparently more popular than ever.25
The big drum has gone down before them, the flute band, though those that remain
toot as defiantly as ever, are fewer and fewer, and further between. The accordion band
seems to be a spent force, which is a merciful dispensation indeed. (The Roamer)26

By 1952 there were complaints that there were so many pipe bands that the
Sash was heard less often since it is more easily played by flute and accordion
bands.27 The Lambeg drum remained relatively common in areas of Armagh
and Down, but disappeared from the Belfast parade, although it could still
be heard on the Eleventh Night or at semi-organised drumming matches in
which the object was almost to physically intimidate ones drumming
opponent (Scullion 1981: 1938). These drumming matches were not
appreciated by all in the unionist fraternity.
After a few drunken brawls, much foul language, and serious traffic congestion, the
incessant din comes to an end well after midnight.
Does Mr. Forrest think that traditions like this are a firm foundation for a
progressive Ulster? Surely if the ability to beat a drum were the mark of an advancing
civilisation the most primitive natives of Africa would by now be masters of the world.
I should hate to think that Ulsters strengths depend upon the revival of past and long
worn out traditions. (Young Unionist)28

Some Orangemen argue that the Lambeg drum is no longer used in the
Belfast Twelfth because it is too slow and difficult to carry for such a distance.
However, I suspect that its association with a more rowdy Twelfth has as

Rituals of State


much to do with it. And the Lambeg drum was not the only tradition to
come under critical scrutiny from respectable Orangeism. Amongst the
musical accompaniment, one section receives particular attention:
the popular Sash seems to have dropped down the scale like many other party tunes.
I have heard it said that some visiting bands overdid the Sash in recent years. (The

The visiting bands referred to were those from Scotland who had a
reputation for giving lively, exuberant performances. They would often
arrive off an early boat on the Twelfth morning and start tirelessly living it
up for the rest of the day.30
As always, the bands from Clydesdale provided that touch of abandon which appeals
to the spectators. One, at least, enlisted the services of two drummers whose combined
efforts served to emphasise the louder passages of the music. As the auxiliary drummer
had recourse to walk backwards his performance evoked outbursts of laughter.31

Not for the first time in the recent history of the more respectable Twelfth
such behaviour did not meet with unanimous approval.
The dignity of the walk was highly impressive except perhaps for the performance
of numerous Scottish bands whose spirits were often over-exuberant.32

Criticism of Scottish bands appeared in the Belfast News Letter in 1959 and
was rebuffed by a letter from the Thornliebank Amateur Accordion Band
which pointed out that none of its members did anything out of place such
as jazzing to party tunes or sloppy marching.33 I take jazzing to mean the
weaving and dancing up the road which is relatively common in the Belfast
Twelfth of the 1990s, particularly on the return from the Field. Thankfully
for the News Letter there is still a murmur of appreciation in the crowd when
a correct lodge in Sunday go-to-meeting clothes comes along.34
Not only was the behaviour of certain types of band questioned but some
of the influences on the Orangemen and spectators were not always
appreciated. In 1949 the Belfast County Grand Lodge issued statements that
there should be no jazzing of banners and that brethren should not wear
their regalia in a public-house.35 The contradictory attitude towards alcohol
that is an ever present feature of the Twelfth in Belfast was summed up in a
report of the Twelfth by an English visitor in 1958.
Although so many banners proclaim Temperance or Total Abstinence there seemed
no rabid teetotalism about it all. One marcher I met afterwards, as he handsomely
refreshed himself, explained that the banners proclaimed what they did at the lodge,
elsewhere they did what they liked. That seemed a neat definition of Ulsters independence of outlook.36

Some fashionable elements were also introduced into the Belfast parade with
some Orangemen in Teddy Boy gear in 1956, and teenage girls wearing
slacks and doing the twist walking alongside the parade in 1963.37


Orange Parades

There was a slow development in what became known as the weeTwelfth, the little Twelfth, miniature Twelfth or mini-Twelfth. Whilst it
was common for individual lodges to have a small parade in the week or so
before the Twelfth, sometimes to take a banner from the lodge building to
the lodge Masters house, the wee-Twelfth was a collection of local lodges
parading in their particular District. In Belfast this type of parade seems to
have developed from a small number of east Belfast lodges marching on 1
July to commemorate the Somme. There appear to be no reports of this
parade prior to the Second World War. Rather, it seems to have been a
parade organised by one or two lodges that effectively became a Ballymacarrett District parade in the 1950s. There are also reports of a miniature
Twelfth at Leckpatrick, near Strabane in 1955,38 and at some point in the
1950s or early in the 1960s pre-Twelfth parades started in Sandy Row
District in south Belfast and also in west Belfast, encompassing the Shankill.
Whilst to begin with these parades have a relatively low profile, they seem to
proliferate around and after the start of the Troubles in 1969.


Early post-war unionist politics was dominated by the relationship between
the unionist government and the Protestant working classes within the new
economic and political environment provided by the welfare and education
reforms of the Labour government in Westminster. The conflicting interests
of business groups, the political elite espousing popular Orangeism, and the
increased role of the wider British state proved decisive within unionism.
Initially, significant sections of the UUP were hostile to socialistic reforms,
although a deal with the Labour government that gave financial backing to
the reforms helped mollify some of the objections. Nevertheless, the
attraction of the Protestant working classes to the Northern Ireland Labour
Party and other left-of-centre candidates proved to be a constant dilemma
for senior unionist politicians (Bew et al. 1995: 11115). At the same time,
national education reforms yet again threatened to undermine the denominational structure of the education system in Northern Ireland, once again
giving the more fundamentalist wing of Orangeism one of its favourite causes
to fight (Bardon 1992: 595).
The threat to the Orange Institution from both socialism and fundamental
Protestantism (Bruce 1986: 64) demanded constant calls for unity during
Twelfth demonstrations. Twelfth resolutions and speeches attacking
Communism were made every year from 1948 through to the mid-1950s.
The speeches at Sixmilecross in 1953 in rural Tyrone, with a local election
beckoning, are typical and revealed many of the fears over Labour and
socialist advances.

Rituals of State


Mr Beattie (Co. Grand Treasurer) said that he had been told about great arches in
Sandy Row and the Shankill. The people of the border counties would rather see West
Belfast returning a unionist to Westminster than putting up elaborate decorations at
the Twelfth.
The Orange lodges believed it was a shame that places like Sandy Row and the
Shankill should send Mr J Beattie [Independent Labour Party] to Westminster. The
unionists of Tyrone and Fermanagh were better loyalists than either Sandy Row or
the Shankill because they were not only Twelfth of July loyalists, but also loyalists at
election time.39

In the main, of course, the Twelfth continued to be a day at which

members of the government reiterated policies after resolutions had congratulated them on their good work. In 1951 the Belfast News Letter
described the Twelfth of July as the day for the annual re-statement of
Ulsters first principles.40 In 1956 the same newspaper described it as
Ulsters Red Letter Day which affords an opportunity to all to declare their
unity on the fundamental issue in the political life of Ulster.41 However, the
use of the Twelfth as an overt party political platform was not welcomed by
everyone. Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the unionists, such as Norman
Porter, who stayed independent of the Ulster Unionist Party, particularly
resented it. Porter was a prominent local MP and independent unionist, with
a fundamentalist background. At a local parade in 1956 he complained
about the resolutions for the forthcoming Twelfth and the likely platform
speeches of politicians.
With the greatest respect to my Parliamentary colleagues I wish . . . to deplore their
remarks at Orange gatherings when they discuss such matters as agriculture,
transport, unemployment, and industrial development, especially when these matters
are in no way connected with the defence of Protestantism. (Norman Porter)42

Porter consistently repeated this argument at Orange events in the years

that followed. In fact, there seems to have been a tendency, by the mid1950s, in some rural areas of Ulster, particularly mid-Antrim and mid-Derry,
only to have religious services at the Twelfth.43 In Bellaghy, County Derry,
in 1956, they decided to follow recent practice and hold only a religious
service with the resolutions simply being read out and seconded. Yet on the
same day, at Finaghy, speakers were giving a rousing defence of the governments policy on health, power and employment.44 By 1960 the
religious as opposed to the political nature of the Twelfth was central to a
number of the speeches on the Twelfth. The debate was summed up in Belfast
News Letter editorials.
The religious services are preferred by many within the Orange Order, who believe
that they are more in keeping with the occasion. The Twelfth platform they claim,
is not the most suitable place for political speeches. . . . But those who have carried
on the Order know . . . that their aim can only be made good through political action
and consistent vigilance on the political front, and history proves the soundness of
that view.45


Orange Parades

Some speakers that year argued that by interfering with politics the
Institution weakened itself, and people confused the objects of the Unionist
Party and the Orange Order. This feeling probably arose for two different,
though connected reasons. First, there is some evidence to suggest that intercommunal tensions were particularly low at this time. For instance, there
was an ongoing debate in the UUP over allowing Roman Catholics to join
and stand as candidates for the party (Bardon 1992: 60910). As the issue
of the border seemed to fade, and perhaps a more permissive society started
to intrude, many of the more religious brethren saw the Institution, unlike
the UUP, as being a Protestant, moral, guardian. The UUP was always liable
to be tainted by its involvement in mundane everyday politics and some
brethren would have liked to see the Orange Institution able to act more freely
as a moral pressure group. This view of the Twelfth was challenged both by
senior members of the Institution, who of course were also often senior in the
UUP, and also by brethren who saw the Institution as a sort of democratic
forum through which their own political views could be made known.
Second, there was significant disenchantment with the UUP. This partly
stemmed from the development of left-wing politics, as represented by the
Northern Ireland Labour Party. But also of growing significance was pressure
from fundamentalist or ultra-Protestant groups, in which both Ian Paisley,
from 1956 involved in a group called Ulster Protestant Action, and Norman
Porter were involved (Bruce 1986: 667; Moloney and Pollak 1986: 889).
These groups attempted to take the religious high ground which could elude
the Orange Institution because of its political involvement.
These divisions to an extent represent the battle for ideological control
within the Protestant bloc suggested by Bew et al. The unionist elites
retention of hegemonic control, using popular Orangeism, became increasingly difficult due to a number of factors. Bew et al. accept that one of these
was the pressure from British business interests to improve relations with
the south, an increasingly important market, but they also argue that
economic decline and rising unemployment allowed secular labourite
responses to attain greater force, and also eventually moved unionism under
ONeill, in the 1960s, into more reformist regional economic planning
(1995: 11115). These economic and political forces reveal themselves in
both the development of the Northern Ireland Labour Party and also in
reactionary Protestant fundamentalism. The Twelfth during this period is
not a politically static event but rather an arena through which political
forces could play out their relationships.


In spite of the period 194565 being one in which inter-communal tensions
were relatively low, there is still a catalogue of incidents where parades,

Rituals of State


demonstrations and political rallies ended in disorder, particularly in the late

1940s and early 1950s. In the main this involved the RUC attempting to
stop the Irish Tricolour being displayed at a variety of republican or socialist
events. This led to the introduction of the 1951 Public Order (NI) Act and
the 1954 Flags and Emblems (NI) Act. These legislative changes only sought
to normalise the de facto control on nationalist and republican events and
displays that had existed prior to the war. In practice, by the late 1950s and
early 1960s, restrictions on such events were becoming less and even
republican Easter commemorations were more often taking place without
police interference (Jarman and Bryan 1998: 518).
In contrast to the treatment of nationalist parades, Orange parades were
rarely stopped or re-routed. However, there were a number of revealing
incidents, most notably on the Longstone Road in County Down from 1952
onwards and in Dungiven, County Londonderry from 1953 onwards. The
Longstone Road dispute erupted when Orange lodges applied for permission
to parade to a new Orange Hall that had been built in the area. The planned
route for the Orangemen took them through a predominantly nationalist
area. Home Affairs minister, Brian Maginess, had recently banned nationalist
parades in Derry and Enniskillen and initially banned the Orange parade.
The ban was lifted on 3 July, after an outcry, and a second parade took place
which was halted by nationalist protesters. These acts of weakness were held
against Maginess and he very nearly lost his seat to an independent unionist
in the 1953 election. At the start of 1954, a vote of no confidence in the
government was passed at a big rally held in Belfasts Ulster Hall by the Ulster
Orange and Protestant Committee at which independent unionist Norman
Porter was the main speaker. Eventually Maginess was replaced by G.B.
Hanna who upheld the Longstone Road ban for that year. At the Belfast
Twelfth the Ulster Orange and Protestant Committee handed out leaflets
criticising appeasement by the UUP, and quoted the 1947 Education Act and
the recent successful IRA attack on Gough barracks, in Armagh, as examples
of weakness. The leaflet argued that there were traitors in Stormont and that
brass hats of our loyal Orange Order must face facts or face the consequences. There was some limited heckling of platform speakers and one man
was asked to leave the Field.46 By the Twelfth in 1955 the Longstone Road
ban had been removed. A day before the Twelfth three bombs went off on
the Longstone Road and on the day of the parade hundreds of police lined
the route. As L.P.S. Orr MP, Norman Porter MP and Brian Faulkner MP
joined 15,000 Orangemen on the Longstone Road, G.B. Hanna made a
speech at Finaghy pointing out that the Hibernians had, a few weeks earlier,
paraded in the same area. Two weeks later a Gaelic festival parade in Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh, was banned, resulting in a serious riot.
The Dungiven dispute seems to have developed after a loyalist band,
wishing to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, was prevented
from parading through the town by a group of nationalists. Tension in
Dungiven rose again in 1958, when, on 3 July, the loyalist Bovevagh (or


Orange Parades

Boveva in some papers) band caught locals by surprise and marched through
the centre of the town. On the following Sunday police were asked to remove
a Union flag from an electricity pylon in the grounds of a Roman Catholic
church. Some reports suggest the flag was then wrestled from police and
burnt. Certainly there were some disturbances during the afternoon.
Nationalist MPs described the use of the Union flag as provocative and
suggested that it would not be respected if it was used for party purposes. A
unionist MP retorted that by displaying the Union Jack, the members of the
Orange Order showed that they were positive, active adherents of the Crown
and of the Protestant faith nothing to do with politics.47
The following year Home Affairs Minister, W.W.B. Topping banned an
Orange parade which planned to go through Dungiven to mark the visit to
Northern Ireland of Princess Margaret. A few days afterwards the Bovevagh
band organised another parade which was also banned. This time the loyalist
reaction was more widespread. In particular Ian Paisley, and Ulster
Protestant Action (UPA) a militant Protestant organisation based in Belfast,
with which Paisley was closely associated (Moloney and Pollak 1986: 812)
organised a parade and rally at the Queens Island shipyard. Topping was
condemned and further action was threatened. Topping replied the next day
that the band had just been re-routed and that there was support from
significant elements of the Protestant population of Dungiven for his decision.
At the Twelfth platform in Belfast Topping was heckled by UPA
supporters who handed out leaflets. Chairman, John Bryans, Grand Master
of Belfast, demanded that they conduct themselves as Orangemen, but interruptions continued with some Orangemen holding their own impromptu
meeting at the end.48 In Coleraine, at the meeting attended by brethren
from Dungiven and Limavady, there was an attempt to submit a resolution
protesting at the governments actions. The chairman refused to accept it
and suggested that the Order should not descend to the level of ragamuffins.
As the chairman tried to pass the resolutions there were shouts of No they
are not passed. At the end a man came up and read the alternative
resolution.49 A couple of months later Topping lost his ministerial job and
was replaced by Brian Faulkner.
The following year, on 10 July, Faulkner allowed an Orange parade in
Dungiven led by the Bovevagh band and with Norman Porter MP and Robert
Chichester-Clark, a Westminster MP, taking part. There were scuffles during
the parade, although nationalists had decided against a counter-demonstration. There were disturbances involving police and locals for three days
following (Farrell 1980: 222; Moloney and Pollak 1986: 903). William
Douglas, Bovevagh band leader and District Master of Limavady, was given
a rousing reception at the Coleraine Twelfth. Faulkner later defended his
decision on the basis that they were only parading to a church service.
In the two main parading disputes involving the Orange Institution during
the golden era an attempt by the state to restrict a loyalist parade resulted
in senior politicians losing their jobs. They were replaced by men keen to

Rituals of State


return to a populist line. At the same time nationalist parades were often
restricted and rarely took place anywhere but in the most Catholic areas,
and even then they were sometimes stopped. Hard-line unionists such as
Norman Porter and Ian Paisley had successfully flexed their political muscle
in ways in which Paisley, in particular, was to do increasingly through the
The 1950s are remembered as a golden era for Orangeism but a closer
analysis of the period reveals some of the frictions within Orangeism that
were to become more obvious by the mid-1960s. In September and October
1962 there were major celebrations, including a large parade in Belfast, to
commemorate the signing of the Covenant fifty years earlier, with the usual
support for the government being pledged. But a few liberal voices within
the UUP were beginning to speak up and there was increasing criticism of
the governments economic policies (Bardon 1992: 620). This criticism arose
not only from the political left, in the form of increased support for the NILP,
but also from local industry. In 1963 Captain Terence ONeill took over from
Brookeborough as Prime Minister. To begin with he showed little in the way
of reform on civil rights and discrimination and his economic policies were
driven by political conflicts within the Protestant, unionist bloc (Bew et al.
1985: 12840). For the Twelfth in 1964, the editorial in the Belfast News
Letter proclaimed a familiar message.
Fashions may change; political ideologies may be dented and policies bred to meet
new situations, but fundamental principles, as we acknowledge them on this
anniversary in Ulster, are forever. . . . Men from many different levels of society will
proclaim, propose and acclaim them. . . . men of all ranks are happy in brotherhood.50

Orangeism appeared to be in a dominant hegemonic position. The Twelfth

appeared more paternalistic and less threatening than at any other time in
its history. But I have tried to suggest that even in this golden era there
was resistance from both within and outside unionism. Scott argues (1990:
4), that the dominant are never completely in control although the public
transcript more often than not reflects the position of the dominant. It is in
public that those in subordinate positions are most likely to appear to
endorse the hegemonic values. Yet resistance to the position of the dominant
can be seen even in the public transcripts I have studied above a close look
at the Twelfth revealing the tensions that were to become so acute. In
retrospect it is clear that the Orange and unionist elite were in an untenable
long-term position.


The struggle between political forces is exceedingly abstract and distant from the
everyday experience of most people. One of the primary ways it can be made palpable
is through the symbolic dramatizations of conflict that such mass demonstrations
make possible. Individuals can then identify abstract political principles with actual
people, and they can identify political positions with tangible symbols. The sight of
people who are peacefully parading these symbols being physically assaulted by police
can have a powerful emotional effect on onlookers. (Kertzer 1988: 1201)

In 1972, after three years of violent confrontations that had required the
introduction of British troops to police the streets of Northern Ireland, the
British government decided to close the Stormont Parliament and replace it
with direct rule from Westminster. The result was to take away the Orange
Institutions main source of political patronage and, therefore, to significantly reduce its avenues to power. The Twelfth, the ritual that symbolised
the Northern state, also underwent significant changes. From the mid-1960s
onwards the hegemonic position of Orangeism was questioned not only by
the civil rights movement, not only by nationalists, socialists and
republicans, but also, to a certain extent, by the British state and the
Northern Irish bourgeoisie. Orangeism, which had appeared so appropriate
for the cause of opposition to Home Rule, and which had provided the state
of Northern Ireland with a distinctive identity, no longer held attractions for
significant numbers of the middle classes of Belfast. The industries in which
it had held sway were in decline, and increasingly owned, or supported from,
outside the six counties. Some senior unionist politicians, grappling with
increasing economic problems, became less inclined to issue populist Orange
clarion calls. In particular, the new Prime Minister, Terence ONeill, who
came from an aristocratic and landed background, was clearly a politician
first and an Orangeman second. How reformist he actually was in economic
and social spheres is open to question (Bew et al. 1995), however, his actions
further divided unionism and allowed an increasing number to question his
Orange credentials. Suddenly a Twelfth platform became a hostile place for
some in the unionist elite and when the civil rights movement literally
marched into the arena parades and public demonstrations once again
became the focus for political action (Purdie 1990).

You Can March Can Others?



Protestant opposition to ONeill coalesced around a number of personalities,
but by far the most pro-active and successful was the Reverend Ian Paisley.
Two factors make him of particular interest in terms of understanding
parades. First, he has not been a member of the Orange Institution since
1962, and second he was, and is, a fine exponent of the counter-demonstration. The distrust of Paisley felt in the higher echelons of the Institution
can be traced back to the early 1950s. The friction caused when Paisley set
up the Free Presbyterian Church was such that it was never given any real
recognition within the Orange Institution and its ministers were prevented
from becoming chaplains in Orange lodges. In 1958 a fellow Orangeman,
Warren Porter, brought the charge of unbrotherly conduct against him,
after Paisley published an attack on Porter. He finally left the Order when
angered by the Mayor of Belfasts attendance at a Roman Catholic funeral
Mass. It was on his resignation that he apparently accused certain Orange
chaplains of having a Romeward trend in their philosophy (Moloney and
Pollak 1986: 515). Although by leaving the Institution he was cutting
himself off from the normal route into political influence, his outspoken
attacks and his skill at theatrical, public political demonstrations allowed
him to become an increasingly important figure in unionist politics. In
October 1964 he infamously threatened to march up the Falls Road to
remove a Tricolour that was sitting in the window of the Sinn Fin office.
This forced the RUC, under the Flags and Emblems Act, to go and remove it
and a week of rioting followed on the Falls. By the mid-1960s Paisley had
already gained renown for organising demonstrations against various liberal
Protestant figures or on occasions such as when the Union Jack over the City
Hall was lowered on the death of the Pope in 1963 (Bruce 1986: 724).
Court hearings, fines and eventually imprisonment only added to his populist
appeal. Despite no longer being an Orangeman, Paisley spoke at Orange
functions and retained some significant support amongst rank-and-file
Orangemen, so much so that there was even talk of the Orange Order
splitting. Opposition from Paisley and others helped to give the Northern
Ireland government and the RUC excuses to stop the civil rights demonstrations that took to the streets. But in stopping some of Paisleys forays into
Catholic areas they also positioned themselves to be accused of weakness in
the face of republicanism (Purdie 1990: 236).
In January 1965 the Taoiseach, Sen Lemass, held talks with ONeill at
Stormont. The following month ONeill visited Dublin. On 25 February,
Paisley was part of a parade to Unionist Party headquarters which included
loyalist bands from all over Belfast (Moloney and Pollak 1986: 1201). An
examination of the Twelfth platform speeches also suggests discontent. At
the Belfast demonstration in Finaghy, leaflets from Protestant unionists
were handed around, and a number of speeches were interrupted, including
that of the Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Sir George


Orange Parades

Clark. Ringleaders apparently kept their sashes under their coats as Clark
called for their sashes to be taken from them, threatening a strong right
arm.1 However, these interrupted platform speeches were just the start.
There were disturbances at different platforms almost every year from 1965
through to 1977. The exceptions were 1969 and 1970, when resolutions
and speeches were highly critical of the government and many politicians
failed to turn up, and in 1974 when the success of the Ulster Workers
Council strike might have given an added sense of unity and confidence to
proceedings. But in general the formality of the ritual occasion could no
longer hide the divisions that existed. The diversity of interest groups
involved in the Twelfth had started to reveal themselves in a much starker
way and the Boyne celebrations were now reflecting the growing crisis in
Northern Ireland in general and in unionism in particular.
By the time the 1966 Twelfth arrived that sense of crisis was growing. The
British Prime Minster, Harold Wilson, had impressed upon ONeill the need
to look at community relations, especially the issue of discrimination in
housing. For his part ONeill at the very least showed a greater willingness
to meet the Catholic community with visits to schools and hospitals.
However, agitation from Paisley meant that a train bringing participants
from the south up to the celebrations for the Easter Rising of 1916 was
stopped. He organised a parade to the Ulster Hall that included part of the
route of the republican parade (Jarman and Bryan 1996: 578). The County
Grand Lodge in Fermanagh, whose County Grand Master was former Prime
Minister Brookeborough, passed a resolution calling for the banning of Easter
republican parades. A cabinet meeting decided to put a number of restrictions on the republican parade. Paisley was involved in setting up the Ulster
Protestant Volunteers, which seemed to model itself on the Orange
Institution with members wearing a white sash with red and blue fringe, and
marching with bands (Harbinson 1973: 94; Moloney and Pollak 1986:
12431). On 6 June Paisley organised a parade, to demonstrate against the
Romanising tendencies at the Presbyterian General Assembly, which went
right past the mainly Catholic Markets area and left a riot in its wake. He was
prosecuted for this and on 20 July went to jail. A few days later a large
parade, with his support, went to the centre of Belfast where attacks were
made on Catholic-owned pubs (Farrell 1980: 2345; Moloney and Pollak
1986: 1315; Bardon 1992: 6346). Unionist MP Nat Minford questioned
Paisleys Orange credentials.
If this person thinks his strutting like a bloody turkey cock and that his slabberings on
public platforms are going to make me tremble he is around the bend. . . . Where will
he be on the Glorious Twelfth? Will he be wearing the colours? Where will he parade
unless it is to his own advantage? Will he make the Twelfth glorious?2

Paisleys agitation was in part aimed at the ecumenical wing of the Presbyterian Church, with its connections with the World Council of Churches.
The Grand Lodge decided to make a resolution that year that was critical of

You Can March Can Others?


ecumenism, but there were calls for the resolution to be withdrawn and one
deputy Grand Chaplain refused to go to Finaghy because of it.3 ONeill was
supposed to be speaking on all three resolutions at Cullybackey. This plan
was changed when it was realised it meant him speaking on the second
resolution critical of ecumenism and the third resolution, which although
congratulating his government on economic successes, implied some
criticism as it called for greater protection for the constitutional position of
the Province.4 Nat Minford and Phelim ONeill were not invited to the
Twelfth; Phelim ONeill was openly critical of the resolution. The Grand
Master, Sir George Clark, introduced the resolution at Finaghy along with
an attack on Paisley suggesting that he should not be invited to Orange
meetings. At Newtownards the resolution was not even introduced.
However, there was heckling of speakers at five platforms with Prime
Minister ONeills name being greeted with cries of traitor. At Ballynahinch,
Faulkner was shouted at and had copies of Paisleys newspaper, the
Protestant Telegraph, waved at him. At Kilkeel, Roy Bradford MP and two
Stormont Senators were jostled and kicked.5 In its editorial the Belfast News
Letter suggested that heckling where it did occur was predictable, unoriginal,
and reflected the level of intelligence of those who indulged in it.6 During
the Last Saturday Black parades there was trouble at Castlederg, where police
broke up a counter-demonstration, at platform speeches at Dromore, where
Nat Minford was surrounded and abused, and at Ballymena, when Home
Affairs Minister Brian McConnell was shouted at by a group wanting to know
about Protestant Ministers in jail.7 There had even been a suggestion by a
group called The Orange Voice of Freedom set up to highlight the lack of
leadership in the Orange Institution that MPs should not be invited to the
Field.8 The plan by this group that it should have a march on the Shankill,
with Orangemen in regalia, was an obvious threat to the authority of the
Orange Institution. The governments banning of this parade explains the
heckling McConnell received at the Black parade in Ballymena (Moloney and
Pollak 1986: 146).
A Belfast Telegraph editorial recognised the struggle for power taking place
in the context of the Twelfth and also attacked Paisley.
Not long ago speeches on the Twelfth of July were the dullest part of proceedings. But
not today. What the Orange platforms have witnessed is a critical round in a struggle
not only for control of the Order but for the possession of Northern Irelands soul. Is
this statement too strong? We do not think so. Orangeism is again in a key position.
It is the first to have to make the choice between responsible Government through
the present unionist leadership or a form of dictatorship through a religious war led
by a latter-day Mad Mullah.9

Perhaps most significantly a new paramilitary organisation, styling itself the

Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), shot three Roman Catholics in Belfast, one of
them fatally. The government immediately banned the UVF under the
Special Powers Act (Boulton 1973; Bardon 1992: 635).


Orange Parades

The Twelfth of 1967 showed all the hallmarks of the growing divisions.
The usual resolution paying tribute to the Prime Minister was criticised by
Harry West, a recently sacked government minister, and eventually caused
an uproar at seven venues. At Coagh the Westminster MP for Mid-Ulster,
George Forrest, was pulled from the platform, kicked and left unconscious,
after he had threatened demonstrators with his chair when they jeered at
ONeills name. In Tandragee, County Armagh, hecklers shouted ONeill
must go and Up de Valera. At Enniskillen, the MP supposed to propose the
ONeill resolution did not turn up and instead Harry West and the former
Prime Minister, Lord Brookeborough, delivered critical speeches. At Fintona,
the resolution was changed to omit ONeills name and in Lisburn the
meeting was disturbed by a heckler using a loud hailer. At the Belfast parade
the Grand Master, George Clark, was heckled and there were cries of
objection as the resolution was read out. A number of government ministers
were noticeable by their absence and ONeill only spoke at Portglenone for
a few minutes.10 In October, George Clark resigned due to ill health and the
uncontroversial John Bryans was voted in to the post (Moloney and Pollak
1986: 1489).
The Twelfth of 1968 was not as dramatic as that of the previous year but
divisions were still apparent. At Finaghy there was heckling as the Reverend
Martin Smyth gave the chairmans address. Clearly there was some disquiet
over the expulsion of Phelim ONeill. Captain L.P.S. Orr, Imperial Grand
Master of the Orange Order had suggested, a few days earlier, that it was up
to individual Orangemen to interpret the rules and that he personally did
not think that it was necessarily wrong to attend a Roman Catholic funeral.
Orr, however, came under attack at the Ballyclare platform from Reverend
William Thompson who argued that an Orangeman should refuse an
invitation to any Roman Catholic ceremony.11


It is beyond the scope of this book to examine in any detail the development
of the civil rights movement, but its activities, particularly its organising of
mass public rallies, clearly played an important role in exposing the inadequacies of the Northern Ireland state and revealing the divisions within
unionism. Disquiet over discrimination in housing and employment, as well
as gerrymandering in local council elections, had been growing during the
1960s. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), a coalition
of republican, socialist and other interest groups, was founded in February
of 1967. At Easter NICRA held protest rallies in Armagh and Newry after
Craig had banned a republican rally in Armagh due to a threat from Paisley
to organise a counter-march. But it was during the second half of 1968 that
the tactic of having public demonstration really developed (Farrell 1980:

You Can March Can Others?


2457; Nelson 1984: 6775; Moloney and Pollak 1986: 1534; Lee 1989:
420; Purdie 1990; Bardon 1992: 6514; Dochartaigh 1997).
In August 1968 the Campaign for Social Justice, based in Dungannon,
organised a parade from Coalisland to Dungannon. When Paisleys UPV
organised a counter-march the RUC decided to block the path into
Dungannon, beating back the few that tried to continue. The thousandstrong opposition march sang The Sash and God Save the Queen.
Developing against the backdrop of the civil rights campaigns and antiVietnam War protests in America and Europe, the civil rights movement
began to gain publicity and support both inside and outside the Catholic
community. However, given the historical significance of parades in the
north of Ireland, given the powerful position of Orangeism, and given the
ethnic territorial divisions of city, town and country communities, it was
always likely that it could be depicted as a nationalist threat. And although
the call for a united Ireland was at this point muted, the parades were, of
course, a threat to the state of Northern Ireland as it was then constituted.
Even in places such as Armagh, Derry, Dungannon or Enniskillen, where
the population was predominantly Catholic, the town centres with their war
memorials, town halls, Orange halls and Protestant-owned businesses, were
perceived as Protestant. As such, the organisers of counter-demonstrations
were able to play upon existing fears and utilise the territorial perceptions
many people held. Town centres were not neutral areas; the centre of
Dungannon was no Speakers Corner.
Over the months that followed confrontations between civil rights demonstrators and the police became world-wide television news. In Derry on 5
October 1968 demonstrators tried to take the route into the city usually
taken by the Apprentice Boys in August. The march was banned and they
were baton charged by police when they started off (McCann 1974; Farrell
1980: 2467; Bardon 1992: 6545). On New Years Day 1969 about eighty
students of the Peoples Democracy, set up after Paisley had demonstrated
and effectively stopped students marching into Belfast in October, set off on
a march from Belfast to Derry. Police offered little protection as marchers
were attacked at Burntollet Bridge on the road from Dungiven to Derry. It
was later discovered that a number of those conducting the ambush were
themselves in the B-Specials. When they finally arrived in Derry they were
given a heros reception and there was further rioting.
When Faulkner resigned from the government, ONeills position was
becoming more untenable. Twelve unionist MPs met in Portadown, at what
became known as the Portadown Parliament, to plot his downfall. A
General Election was called for 24 February 1969 and unionists were split
into pro- and anti- ONeill camps. Despite doing reasonably well, forming
a government and introducing a new Public Order Bill, ONeill could only
stumble on until the end of April. That month Paisley was in jail, and further
civil rights demonstrations ended in riots. Derry was approaching a state of
civil war. A number of bombs exploded at an electricity station and a


Orange Parades

reservoir, and were blamed upon the IRA, although it was later revealed to
be the UVF attempting to destabilise the government. ONeill was succeeded
by Chichester-Clark, who beat the more hard-line Faulkner by one vote.
Chichester-Clark announced reforms, including one man, one vote, an
amnesty allowing for the release of Paisley, and at the same time gave
Faulkner a place in the cabinet (Farrell 1980: 2548; Bardon 1992: 6619).
As a result of the government changes, the civil rights demonstrations
eased up, but the summer was approaching and that meant the traditional
marching season. As far back as February loyalists had blown up the Long
Stone, at the Longstone Road, the scene of the parading dispute in the 1950s
(Moloney and Pollak 1986: 183). In June an Orange church parade in
Dungiven was attacked. On 29 June another Orange parade took place in
Dungiven for the unfurling of a new banner led by the Bovevagh flute band.
Protesters held placards reading You can march Can others?12 The
Orange parade commemorating the landing of William at Carrickfergus was
reintroduced for the first time in seventeen years.13 By May and June areas
in north and west Belfast were particularly tense. The Connolly Commemoration Committee announced a parade for 15 June that would carry a
Tricolour into Belfast; the newly formed Shankill Defence Association (SDA)
announced a counter-demonstration. Both marches had restrictions placed
upon them but the SDA parade was allowed into the city centre whilst the
Connolly parade was not. The UVF also issued a threat to the provocative
Connolly parade. In the end three members of the Connolly Association took
a walk down Royal Avenue and the SDA called off the counter-demonstration although crowds stayed in the area singing The Sash and the national
anthem.14 There was a tense civil rights demonstration in Strabane on
Sunday 29 June and another in Newry on 5 July.15 Although the Newry
march passed peacefully, and a senior Orangeman had appealed for it to be
allowed to proceed unhindered, Paisley later announced that he would lead
a parade through the town in the near future.16 There was rioting in
Armagh after a Peoples Democracy march on the 7th, and there were more
clashes in Lurgan on the 11th over disputed flags.17
The Twelfth was punctuated by violence. In Derry, a parade was attacked
and police fought running battles in the Bogside for the following three days.
In Lurgan the disturbances of the previous day continued. In Belfast the
display of a Tricolour from Unity Flats provoked rioting and Orangemen were
held back by police as they tried to enter the flats. In Dungiven an Orange
parade was attacked and in the afternoon the flag outside the Orange Hall
was burnt. The next day B-Specials fired over the heads of a crowd attacking
the Orange Hall, but eventually it also was burnt (Farrell 1980: 258; Bardon
1992: 665).18
It was noted that a number of unionist MPs were absent from the Field
demonstrations. The recently installed Prime Minister, Chichester-Clark, was
spared direct attention but the general unionist establishment was not. In

You Can March Can Others?


Markethill, the Secretary of the County Grand Lodge of Armagh, J.A.

Anderson, described unionists in Stormont as ineffective.
Either our members have not the ability to reply or else they are too lackadaisical, but
one thing is certain they will not refuse their salaries or expenses.19

Most of the various speakers venom was reserved for the civil rights
movement. L.P.S. Orr in Banbridge argued that the Orange Order was the
oldest civil rights movement in Ireland. Rafton Pounder MP suggested at
Finaghy that he did not speak as a politician but as an Orangeman as he did
not approve of politicians using Orange platforms to fly political kites. Nevertheless, he then went on to argue that the civil rights movement was
undermining the very existence of the state. It is also interesting to note that,
at this point in time, the republican movement was not singled out as being
behind the civil rights campaign.20
It is ironical to hear the cry from the streets from people who denied the freedom of
speech, whose political theories are mixed up with Communism and anarchism, a
political creed which, wherever it had succeeded, deprived the people of these
freedoms. (Capt. John Brooke MP, the Twelfth platform, Enniskillen)21

For the first time in many years Paisley spoke at an Orange Twelfth demonstration, but significantly it was that held by the Independent Orange
Institution at Castlereagh and the Ulster Unionist Party came in for strong
Members of the Peoples Democracy were arrested in Enniskillen on 26
July when the parade was banned and on 2 August serious rioting started
around Unity Flats when rumours circulated, later denied by the police, that
a Junior Orange parade coming down from the Shankill had been stoned
from the Flats. Riots continued for days afterwards and eventually the
stretched police force in the area were replaced by the B-Specials and
Orangemen conducted peace patrols wearing their sashes.22 Significantly,
some Catholics living up near the Ardoyne were forced out of their houses
(Farrell 1980: 259). The situation was so tense that there were growing
calls for all parades to be banned. Even the Belfast News Letter suggested that
the Apprentice Boys might alter their 12 August parade route and that
Paisleys proposed parade in Newry on 16 August should be banned. Paisley
had already called for Orange regalia to be worn at his Newry demonstration. Concern within the Orange Institution at the violence connected with
Orange events was also growing and the Grand Lodge Secretary, Walter
Williams, reminded brethren that Orange regalia was only to be worn
during parades under the auspices of the Institution. He also pointed out
that brethren were obliged to keep the rules of the statute book. John
Bryans, Belfast County Grand Master, urged Orangemen to back the
police.23 There was clearly a worry among the officers of the Institution that
they were losing control.


Orange Parades

The Apprentice Boys parade in Derry on the 12 August 1969 is popularly

seen as the start of the Troubles. Tension built throughout the day and by
the time the main parade moved out of Magazine Gate a large crowd from
the Bogside had collected in Waterloo Place. A battle ensued involving
Bogside residents, the RUC and B-Specials, and loyalist groups that effectively
kept the Bogside under siege for three days. Discontent quickly spread to
Armagh, Coalisland, Dungannon, Dungiven, Lurgan and inevitably to
Belfast. The police became unable to deal with the situation as groups of
Catholics and Protestants clashed in west Belfast. In some cases the RUC,
and particularly the B-Specials, were supporting loyalist groups. Houses were
wrecked and hundreds of families forced to move out. Eventually, on 15
August, it was decided to call in the troops. So fearful of the police were some
in the Catholic community, that the army, to begin with at least, were a
welcome sight. In July and August 1969 ten people died, nearly 1,000 were
injured and 170 homes were destroyed and 417 damaged. Of 1,820 families
forced to leave their homes 1,505 were Catholic (Farrell 1980: 25962;
McCann 1974; Buckland 1981: 12931; Lee 1989: 4289; Bardon 1992:
Only on 13 August did the government place a ban on marches and
demonstrations. The Grand Orange Lodge immediately announced that
there would be full compliance, but that time of year their major parades
were over. As The Times put it:
By waiting until now to ban the parades, by waiting until the Orange faction has had
its fling, the Stormont Government convicts itself of partiality in the eyes of the

In fact, the Last Saturday Black parades were affected but significantly the
Hibernians parades of 15 August were also covered. Nevertheless, the
Hibernians parade in Dungannon went ahead, as did the Apprentice Boys
Burning of Lundy in Derry in December although the normal parade seems
not to have taken place.
The last few months of 1969 were relatively calm. However, the position
had been set which was to dominate the future of Northern Ireland. Particularly in urban areas communal boundaries were strengthened by
house-wrecking and intimidation. Catholic working-class areas became
hostile to both the police and shortly afterwards the army and came to be
known as No Go areas. As the war against the state of Northern Ireland
developed, the strength of the largely dormant IRA grew. The Northern Irish
and British authorities acted and reacted with increasing force at this
questioning of British control. Nevertheless, a greater involvement from the
British government also brought into question the nature of the government
of Northern Ireland. In the long run this was to lead to the downfall of the
Stormont Parliament but in the short term it meant changes which included
the disbanding of the B-Specials and the disarming of the RUC. Disillusionment within Protestant areas with the ability of the state to protect their

You Can March Can Others?


interests grew and the unionist establishment continued to fall apart. Local
defence organisations formed into what became the Ulster Defence
Association (UDA). Paisleys Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, which
had played a part in opposing republican Easter parades since 1966, also
became a rallying point. On 2 October there was a gun battle between the
security forces and loyalists with two loyalists and a policeman being killed
(Moloney and Pollak 1986: 197201). The forces of the state were still predominantly on the side of the loyalists, but Northern Ireland began to look
less like a safe Protestant State for a Protestant people. The hegemonic
position of Orangeism was under siege from all sides.


It would be just as impracticable to suggest that the USA should give up Independence
Day as to suggest that the Orangemen should give up the Twelfth. These things are
traditional and not provocative. (John Andrews, Northern Ireland Senate Leader)26

The lead-up to the Twelfth of 1970 revealed all the new stresses within the
political structures of the state and on the streets. In April Paisley stood in a
local by-election in a seat vacated by ONeill. Mainstream unionism did its
level best to oppose him. Even the Imperial Grand Master of the Orange
Order, Laurence Orr, was brought in to appeal to the Orange vote for
unionist candidate Bolton Minford. Paisley won with 7,980 votes to
Minfords 1,200. On 18 June Paisley won the seat of North Antrim in the
Westminster General Election. At the other end of the unionist scale the
Alliance Party was formed to reflect a more liberal and reformist position.
The unionist bloc, reflected in the Ulster Unionist Party, symbolised by the
Orange Order, had finally disintegrated.
A large republican Easter parade in Derry on 29 March ended in violence.
On 31 March a junior Orange parade returning along the Springfield Road,
west Belfast, was attacked by Catholic youths as were the soldiers that
interceded. The riots in the Catholic Ballymurphy estate over the following
nights were some of the first major confrontations with the army in Belfast.
Farrell suggests that for the first time the army appeared in the RUC role of
protectors of triumphalist Orange parades (1976: 272). On the other hand,
on 2 June when a loyalist band parade was directed away from the Ardoyne,
north Belfast, there followed two nights of rioting in the Shankill (Bardon
1992: 66778). On 15 June there was more trouble in Dungiven after an
Orange church parade attended by Orangemen from all over Northern
Ireland. A Methodist Church conference called for all parades to be halted
for the love of the nation, and there were calls for the Church of Ireland to
sever its links with the Orange Institution. It has also been suggested that
the new RUC Chief Constable, Sir Arthur Young, former London police commissioner, wanted the parades banned (Moloney and Pollak 1986: 208).


Orange Parades

Even Windsor Park, home football ground of Linfield Football Club, refused
to hold a Sandy Row District Orange service.27 Chichester-Clark was caught
between the growing strength of Paisleyite politics and the growing
involvement of the security forces and British authorities less sympathetic
to Orangeism. On the one hand, the parades looked like they would
inevitably lead to major civil disturbances, on the other hand, banning them
would be political suicide: the parades went ahead. On 27 June a miniTwelfth parade in west Belfast, passing the Catholic Ardoyne area, ended in
rioting and a gun battle in which three Protestants were killed. Another
Orange parade in east Belfast led to confrontations around the Catholic Short
Strand area. A Catholic Church was attacked and four Protestants and an
IRA man lost their lives in the disturbances. The IRA had begun to defend
Catholic estates and Protestants perceived the army as facilitating these new
enclaves by its relative inactivity. At the opening of the annually erected
Orange Arch in Sandy Row, County Grand Master Martin Smyth suggested
that if the troops were unable to ensure the security of Northern Ireland let
them say so and the men of Ulster will rally again, as they did in bygone days,
to maintain the welfare of their own homes.28 Yet early in July the army
undertook an operation in the lower Falls area, imposing a curfew and using
a large amount of force, that greatly increased recruitment into the IRA
(Bowyer Bell 1989; Farrell 1976: 2713; Moloney and Pollak 1986:
20710; Bardon 1992: 2779).
The Orange Institution did announce that all private lodge parades, with
the exception of two to the Cenotaph, were called off with only District,
Somme and Church parades being sanctioned by the Institution. The Prime
Minister announced that some parade re-routes had been agreed with the
Orange Institution. For instance, Sandy Row District were re-routed away
from the Grosvenor Road. Chichester-Clark himself refused to be drawn as to
whether he would parade. In the end he did not march. The resolutions
contained no reference to the government. The third resolution was the same
as a 1922 resolution and called upon the authorities to give full, proper and
immediate protection to law abiding citizens. Government ministers were,
in the main, absent from the platforms and many of the speeches were highly
critical of them. At Finaghy the Deputy District Master, Charles McCullough,
of No. 9 District on the Shankill, listed all the grievances, including the
disarming of the RUC and disbanding of the B-Specials.
All this has come about with the connivance of the government, which represents
itself as being unionist, yet frequently expresses itself in terms that fall short of the
traditional unionism with which we have happily identified ourselves over the
generations. . . . Our traditional principles have been shattered, our beliefs questioned
and maligned, our physical defences weakened and we have endured the humiliation
of watching a bloodless government acting in our name conceding demands under
pressure from urchins and hooligans.29

You Can March Can Others?


There were, of course, criticisms of rioters, particularly from Rafton Pounder

MP who yet again did not approve of Orange platforms being used to fly
political kites. Most of the speeches, however, were typical calls for
Orangemen to close ranks in a time of crisis.30
A report in the Belfast News Letter from Angela Storer described how the
Twelfth in Belfast seemed to lack life, gaiety or spontaneity compared to
previous years. She also noted that a number of Orangemen wore Im
supporting Paisley badges. In Maghera there was heckling of speakers by
John Wylie, Free Presbyterian and Paisley supporter, and there were calls
for William Douglas, District Master in Limavady and member of the
Bovevagh band, to speak.31
Despite suggestions by the Apprentice Boys that they would not be going
near the Bogside, the government announced a six-month parade ban on
23 July. This effectively meant that three successive Apprentice Boys parades
in Derry had been affected. Only war memorial services were excluded. The
Prime Minister suggested that Peace is at stake here . . . and so is economic
progress and the future of responsible government in Northern Ireland. A
band parade in Garvagh was stopped but an Orange service parade in
Kilsherry, County Tyrone was apparently allowed because the marchers did
not walk in organised files.32
Debate raged within unionism and within the loyal orders over how to
react to the ban. The Black Institution decided it would march on the Last
Saturday, some Apprentice Boys walked to a new hall in County Down
where Paisley spoke, there were summons served on six Blackmen after a
parade in Maralin, County Down, a Protestant Unionist Association in
Londonderry said it would defy the ban on 12 August and Paisley led a
parade in Enniskillen and called for Parliament to be recalled. There were
votes of no confidence in the Prime Minister from local Orange lodges and
the County Grand Lodge of Belfast criticised the continuing ineptitude of the
government. Some unionist backbenchers suggested limited parades. The
Apprentice Boys of Derry organised a service, but did not have a parade.
However, a group did try to march over the bridge and there were disturbances on the Waterside and in the Bogside.33
On 26 August, three days before the Last Saturday parades should have
taken place, the Home Affairs Minister, Robert Porter resigned due to ill
health, possibly another ministerial casualty of the parading issue. Also,
cabinet minister Brian Faulkner, who once led Orangemen down the
Longstone Road, was thrown out of the Ballynahinch Branch of the
Apprentice Boys No Surrender Club for his support for the ban. On the Last
Saturday there were parades in Ballymoney, Belfast, Omagh and in
Rathfriland. Although Lundy was burnt in December in Londonderry, there
were no reported parades.34
A now rejuvenated IRA developed a military campaign designed to
undermine the state (Bowyer Bell 1989: 37392). Members of the security
forces were attacked, town and city centres were bombed, and working-class


Orange Parades

Catholic areas were effectively turned into No Go areas for the forces of the
state. The long-term goal may have been a united Ireland but the demise of
Stormont and the consequent introduction of direct rule was seen as a step
towards that goal. The unionist government, frustrated by their inability to
deal effectively with the situation, was under continued pressure from hardline politicians. Over the next few years a large number of loyalist
organisations appeared to try to galvanise unionist politics. In September
1971 Ian Paisley founded the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), whilst
continuing the call for a third force, and around the same time a number of
Protestant community vigilante groups formed into the Ulster Defence
Association (UDA). The following year the Vanguard movement was formed
by William Craig within the Ulster Unionist Party, and connected to
Vanguard were the Orange Volunteers consisting of Orangemen and exservicemen (see Nelson 1984; Bruce 1992). Many of the new groups
expressed their presence by holding parades. There are no published figures
for the number of loyalist parades during this period, but frequent reports
appear in the press of different types of parades.
By March 1971, after a large demonstration by shipyard workers,
Chichester-Clark succumbed to pressures and resigned to be replaced by
Brian Faulkner. Given the ongoing military campaigns, the issues
surrounding parades and demonstrations did not appear as central as they
had over the previous five years. Nevertheless, they continued to provide
occasions that led to inter-communal violence. The marching season got
under way at Easter with a large republican parade on the Sunday, and shots
were fired on a crowd watching a junior Orange parade in east Belfast a few
days afterwards.35 In early June the government announced that an Orange
parade in Dungiven was to be banned. Faulkner argued that the government
wished to preserve the right of peaceful procession but a distinction must be
drawn as far as possible between major traditional parades and others. 36
William Douglas once again rose to the occasion and announced the parade
on and called for support. In a situation that was to be repeated in Portadown
and Belfast in the 1980s and 1990s the police blocked the route and
Orangemen and their supporters confronted them. Violence became
inevitable and rubber bullets and CS gas were used. William McCrea, later to
become a DUP Westminster MP, was arrested. Officials of the Orange
Institution had not been able to control the situation. As they pleaded for the
crowd to disperse there were cries of What did you bring us here for? The
following day even the Belfast News Letter was critical, describing the Orders
handling of the situation as confused and suggesting that it was pointless
for leaders to suggest that, at the eleventh hour, they counseled against the
parade through the town.37
In Belfast the Whiterock parade that took in the Springfield Road as part
of its route again became a cause for concern. The security forces pressed for
an alternative route to be taken and eventually the parade went down
Ainsworth Avenue, rather than Mayo Street where there had been riots the

You Can March Can Others?


previous year. Nevertheless, confrontations still followed as Catholic and

Protestant youths clashed and troops fought with Catholic youths.38 A week
later Paisley warned that if any parades were banned he would call loyalists
out onto the street. A parade in the predominantly nationalist town of
Coalisland was slightly re-routed. At another parade near Ardoyne the army
split the crowd from the parade but there were still clashes in Ardoyne.39
The day before the Twelfth a series of IRA bombs went off in Belfast raising
tensions still further. Nevertheless, although there were a few incidents in
Belfast and a sit-down protest in Annalong, County Down, the day passed
without major problems. The resolution read from the platform expressed
admiration for policemen and soldiers but called for stronger law and order
measures. Yet again speakers on Twelfth platforms were heckled, this time
in Portadown and Rathfriland. In Portadown the platform speakers
threatened to call the police unless calm was restored. Hecklers were
complaining about the World Council of Churches and climbed the platform
at the end to continue their protest. In Rathfriland the Imperial Grand Master
of the Orange Institution, L. P. S. Orr, was heckled for not doing enough to
counter terrorism. In Augher, County Tyrone, the Grand Lodge was criticised
over its hostility towards the Free Presbyterian Church.
On 9 August the conflict intensified when the British government
introduced internment and yet larger parts of the Catholic community came
to resent the presence of the army. Over 300 individuals were seized and held
without trial resulting in widespread civil disturbances. Yet again it was
announced that marches and parades were banned. The Ancient Order of
Hibernians had decided much earlier to call off its August demonstrations,
but large anti-internment rallies took place in September supported by the
SDLP and Peoples Democracy. More illegal marches took place towards the
end of the year, the SDLP withdrew from Stormont and the IRA campaign
intensified still further. In the main, loyalists held to the new ban, although
Paisley still led Apprentice Boys on a parade to Stormont on 13 August
(Farrell 1980: 28590; Bardon 1992: 67989).
On 30 January 1972 the Civil Rights Association organised a mass antiinternment rally in Derry that was to enter the Guildhall. It ended with the
Parachute Regiment opening fire on the crowd and killing thirteen people
in what became known as Bloody Sunday. On 18 March the British Prime
Minister, Edward Heath, decided to suspend Stormont and introduce direct
rule from Westminster. William Whitelaw became the first Secretary of
State for Northern Ireland. On 28 March a huge loyalist demonstration
ended at Stormont.
Protestants, unionists and the Orange Order, were entering a new era in
terms of their relationship with the state. It was now no longer a unionist
government based at Stormont that would make judgements on whether
particular parades should take place, but the RUC, under the watchful eye of
the Northern Ireland Office, the Secretary of State, and a not quite-so-distant


Orange Parades

British government. One of Whitelaws first moves was an amnesty for illegal
marchers (Farrell 1980: 293). To begin with, the British governments relationship with the nationalist community appeared to improve as some
internees were released and tentative negotiations were started. First the
Officials, then on 26 June the Provisional IRA called cease-fires. However,
at the same time loyalist groups had started to take a yet more hard-line
approach. Amongst other actions the UDA set up No Go areas to mirror
those in nationalist areas. The debate over these areas had come to symbolise
the more general questions of legitimacy and authority in Northern Ireland.
For loyalists the control of No Go areas by republicans was indicative of the
weakened and ineffective state that appeared to allow the IRA to move with
impunity. These new UDA No Go areas were not directly related to intercommunal insecurity but rather directed at the British army. They were as
much symbolic as they were of practical use. On 21 May there were confrontations between the army and loyalists in east Belfast and on 3 July a
potentially even more serious confrontation developed around the barriers
in the areas of the Springfield and Woodvale Roads, Protestant areas of west
Belfast. Eventually, after a large number of UDA men, perhaps up to 8,000,
paraded around the Shankill area, the army agreed to joint patrols (Bardon
1992: 6945; Bruce 1992: 604). It was to facilitate the Twelfth that the
UDA No Go areas were relaxed.
In Portadown the IRA had set up barriers in Obins Street, the area known
as the Tunnel, through which the Drumcree Orange church parade was due
to pass. On Sunday 9 July the British army removed the barriers and after
some disturbances a large number of UDA men lined the route up to the
tunnel and threatened to go further if the parade was attacked. The UDA
were again in attendance for the Twelfth with masked men collecting money
in the town. The Twelfth in some other areas was just as tense. One of the
three resolutions called for the re-instatement of Stormont, and many
speeches called for unity. At least one speaker in Belfast called for more
support for the UDA. In Ballymena William Craig suggested that when we
speak of organising ourselves for every contingency that means if necessary
using arms to defend the right of the majority.40
The Twelfth had gone through significant changes over the previous
years. In particular, it had changed from being an expression of the state of
Northern Ireland and its unionist government to an event utilised by an
increasingly divided and disillusioned unionist community for its own
defence. Belfast and other large towns in the late 1960s and early 1970s
had seen a vastly increased sense of anger at the inability of the Orange and
unionist elites to deal with the advance of Irish republicanism, economic
decline and the involvement of the British government. One expression of
this appears to be the development, in working-class areas, of what became
known as blood and thunder, kick the pope or fuck the Pope bands with
names such as Defender and Volunteer, drawing on a Protestant and
loyalist heritage. These bands had only limited musical skills, playing one-key

You Can March Can Others?


flutes, and were dressed in simple uniforms of grey slacks, a white shirt, a
coloured V-neck jumper with perhaps a cap to match. They were often
accompanied by groups of teenage girls who also transported alcohol to the
Field. The large bass drum that formed the centre of the band was often
painted with loyalist insignia and the band was led by a baton-thrower. They
introduced a more rowdy and carnivalesque atmosphere to the proceedings.
One band, in 1969, when it was asked what music it would be playing
apparently answered three hymns: The Boyne Water, Derrys Walls, and
The Sash.41 This growing element in the Twelfth parade did not find
particular favour with all the onlookers and Orangemen. In 1971 Faulkner
particularly criticised the hooligan element which the Belfast News Letter
editorial explained so gratuitously attached themselves to many otherwise
well conducted and orderly parades and whose sole purpose has frequently
been at odds with the high principles of the lodges.42
Restraint by the bands, restraint by those following on the footpath and particularly the young girls who do little to endear themselves to the crowd by the songs they
sing will only enhance the reputation of the Order and the strength of its support.
(Belfast News Letter editorial)43

At the opening of the Sandy Row Orange Arch in 1971 local Orangeman
George Watson condemned the young people who follow a parade and sing
obscene songs.44 It is also interesting that in 1969 after Ulster Television
(UTV) showed a film about the Twelfth, Norman Porter and William McCrea
complained about the drinking scenes. McCrea argued that the Twelfth
appeared as a drunken festival.45
This more rowdy element has always been present at the Twelfth, particularly in Belfast. It would appear that during the 1950s it was not as
prominent, but towards the end of the 1960s once again assumed a higher
profile. In a sense the Twelfth was losing its respectability. Not coincidentally, many people both inside and outside of the Institution believe that it is
around this time that many of the middle classes left the Orange Institution.
By the mid-1990s it was widely believed that membership of the Orange
Institution had fallen from a high of 100,000 to nearer 45,000. In the 1930s
membership of Belfast lodges was so large that Orangemen would march up
to four abreast. By the 1990s the majority marched with just two abreast. It
is not unreasonable to suggest that this decline started in the late 1960s. The
Twelfth was no longer symbolic of the state and, particularly in Belfast, it
was no longer patronised by all Protestant classes.


In the 1920s many Orangemen joined the B-Specials and became defenders
of the state of Northern Ireland. In the 1950s and 1960s the B-Specials were
used to maintain the dominance of Orangeism and their right to parade, but


Orange Parades

by 1970 the only involvement of the B-Specials was in the form of a lodge,
Ulster Special Constabulary LOL 1970, marching in Belfast in commemoration of the now disbanded part-time police force. From the first years after
the forming of the state of Northern Ireland senior politicians had attended
Twelfth parades and non-attendance could be held against them. By the end
of the 1960s many were not appearing at parades and they were even
banning some parades. From the mid-1920s until the 1960s the speeches
from the Twelfth platform were formal, predictable events with resolutions
congratulating the unionist government and ministers for the past years
work. Only occasionally was an Orange platform used to criticise actions and
policies. From the mid-1960s onwards the Twelfth platform became an
arena at which various unionist factions attempted to claim to be the
legitimate protectors of the Protestant community. Speakers were heckled,
leaflets were passed around and on a few occasions proceedings were reduced
to physical confrontations.
The development of the Twelfth into a ritual symbolising the state of
Northern Ireland reached fruition in the 1950s when the relationship of
Northern Ireland with the state in the south became easier, and when
community relations within Northern Ireland were relatively untroubled.
In the main, senior members of the Orange Institution were at one with the
unionist government and were able to convince the Protestant working
classes to continue with what was effectively a form of economic and political
patronage. The relationship between the UUP and the Orange Institution
could hardly have been stronger.
Given the closeness of the relationship between the state, the government,
the Ulster Unionist Party, the Orange Institution and the Twelfth rituals,
during the period from 1920 to the mid-1960s, it is not surprising that some
of the tensions within the state revealed themselves through the Twelfth.
Whilst Farrell (1980) examines the relationship between the business
community and the state as the origin of the crisis, Bew et al. (1995) view
the crisis as developing out of the relationship between the different classes
within the Protestant community and the relationship between the Northern
Irish and British states. Whatever the reason for it, the crisis had a dramatic
effect upon Orangeism. For much of the post-Second World War period the
greatest threat to the UUP came from the attraction of working-class
Protestants to the Northern Ireland Labour Party. This was countered on
the Twelfth platform either by appealing to Orange unity or by aligning
socialism with Catholicism. A much more serious and complex threat came
from fundamental Protestantism, most clearly represented by Ian Paisley.
There has always been a tension between the religious and political aspects
of the Twelfth. Initially, Paisley was only a relatively insignificant voice
claiming that the political actions of unionists, supported by Orangeism, were
undermining Protestantism. This led to the possibility that the Orange
Institution could be accused of a Romeward trend. As ONeills government,
under growing scrutiny from London, was forced to consider liberalisation

You Can March Can Others?


in some social and economic spheres, Paisleys arguments began to attract

support. Further, he was also prepared to defend an Orange domination of
the streets in a way that the government became less inclined to do. The
Orange Institution, and its public rituals, were torn between a defence of the
elite in the Ulster Unionist Party and the more robust defence of perceived
Protestant interests being undertaken by Paisley. The dynamics of the
situation were further complicated by the growing public pressure from the
civil rights movement. The type of forthright attack upon civil rights parades
advocated by Paisley inevitably started to lead to civil disturbances which
also brought Northern Ireland under scrutiny from the outside. The greater
involvement of Britain would almost certainly mean an undermining of the
Protestant state with greater reforms and eventually the collapse of Stormont
altogether. The Orange and unionist elite could no longer defend the
independent form of the state of Northern Ireland and the perceived
Protestant interests of the time, at the same time.
The major changes in political relationships that took place between 1968
and 1972 were in part articulated through parades. In 1968 and 1969 the
civil rights movement used demonstrations as a medium to ask questions of
that nature of the Northern Irish state by demanding the right to public
expression in areas that for fifty years had been the preserve of Orangeism.
Opposition to civil rights demonstrations by Protestant protesters and the
police served to symbolise the inequality of rights that existed. Yet the
dominant elements of the civil rights movement were still demanding rights
within Northern Ireland rather than a united Ireland and there was little in
the way of nationalist communities questioning the rights of Orangemen to
hold their parades. But in 1969, as confrontations become increasingly
violent, the situation changed. Instead of trying to march into town and city
centres, nationalist communities in the Bogside, in Derry and west Belfast
increasingly sought to exclude the police. Communal confrontations led to
more clearly defined ethnic territorial areas. In these conditions opposition
to Orange and Apprentice Boys parades grew as they were viewed as transgressions of boundaries. This was not only because Orangeism represented
for nationalists the unionist regime, but also because those parades
inevitably brought the RUC and particularly the B-Specials with them. The
confrontations that surrounded the Apprentice Boys parade in Derry on 12
August 1969 were significant not only because they set in motion a train of
events that led to the introduction of the British army onto the streets, but
because many in the nationalist community in Derry were now opposing a
loyalist event that came into a city with a predominantly Catholic
population. From 1969 to 1972 the nature of political opposition to
unionism shifted from civil rights to more overt Irish nationalism and the
armed struggle of republicanism. Orange parades that transgressed
boundaries became the site for confrontations and disturbances. Leaders of
the Orange Order were caught between helping to maintain the peace whilst
not being seen as capitulating to the enemy. For many in the Protestant


Orange Parades

community unionism and Orangeism seemed unable to defend their

interests. In many working-class Protestant areas it was not the Orange
Order but the UDA that appeared as the defender of the community.
The Twelfth could no longer be a ritual of state. Rather it became the site
for a political struggle. In working-class areas, where the communal conflict
was most intense, blood and thunder bands developed and a lively, more
overtly sectarian and yet carnivalesque, form of parade started to dominate.
Senior members of the Orange Institution never quite sure whether their
loyalties lay with the state, the government, with Orangeism or with
working-class loyalism lost control of the rituals. Respectable Orangeism
was in retreat. Sarah Nelson in her work on loyalism in the early 1970s
vividly describes the anxiety felt by respectable Orangemen and she quotes
a senior Belfast Orangeman:
We could understand that because the Government were not taking action people
would be tempted to form vigilantes . . . but it worried us. The lawlessness could
escalate . . . the criminal aspect greatly increased, especially with this change of values
in Ulster now. We were a force for peace in those troubled times, touring the streets
and keeping people calm, maintaining respect for the law. The security forces had to
take command in the province not just to stop republican disorder but to stop this
slide into anarchy on the Protestant side. (quoted by Nelson 1984: 90)

Parades through Catholic areas both looked more like invasions and were
treated as invasions, and with the police and army working to some new
agendas they became less likely to ensure the safety of the rituals wherever
Orangemen wanted to go. The possibility arose, for the first time since the
middle of the previous century, that a large number of Orange, Black and
Apprentice Boys parades might be banned. Calls seemed to increase for the
right to hold traditional parades, indeed, some parades started to become
almost oppositional to the forces of the state.


In the previous four chapters I have considered in some detail the

development of the Orange Institution, or Orange Order as it is more
commonly known. Of particular importance in its development have been
its relationship to the state and the class and denominational make-up of its
members. To understand the role that the organisation plays in the modern
politics of Northern Ireland, and the significance of specific parades, its
present structure and membership must be examined. There are also two
other important loyal organisations involved in parading, the Royal Black
Institution and the Apprentice Boys of Derry. The Orange and Black Institutions and the Apprentice Boys, are commonly termed the loyal orders.
Also related to the Orange Order, the Royal Arch Purple has a large
membership but parades infrequently. There are smaller loyal orders: the
Independent Orange Institution, the Junior Orange Institution and the
Association of Loyal Orange Women. These will be briefly considered at the
end of the chapter.


The Orange Institution is structured, hierarchically, into a series of geographically based private, District and County lodges. The governing body is
the Grand Lodge of Ireland although, as I will explain, it has only limited
authority. There is also an Imperial Grand Orange Lodge with representatives from all countries in the world which have Orange lodges, but this body
has no local authority.

The Private Lodge

In Ireland there are approximately 1,400 private lodges, each one in
existence on the basis of having a document called a warrant giving its
number, which is issued and owned, by the Grand Lodge of Ireland. A
warrant number can be passed from one lodge to another. If a lodge goes out
of existence, then a new lodge can take over that number. A new lodge can


Orange Parades

be formed when a number of present members make an application and are

issued with a warrant and number. Lodges meet about once a month,
usually on a regular fixed day at the local Orange hall. In rural areas one
might find only one lodge in a hall, however often a number of lodges use an
Orange hall, and in urban areas a large hall will be used by a considerable
number of lodges. There are about 800 Orange halls in Northern Ireland.1
Each lodge elects a number of officials annually, usually in September.
The most important of these is the Master, the symbolic head of the lodge,
but the lodge also has a Deputy Master, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Chaplain,
a Lecturer and a number of Tylors. These roles can change on a regular
basis although it is not uncommon for an individual to hold a position for a
number of years. The Tylor controls entry to and from lodge meetings, with
movement to and from the lodge room being allowed by the use of a
password or a particular knock on the door. The Orange Order still has many
of the trappings and rituals of what might be described as a secret society.
Lodge meetings can vary in form depending upon the lodge, although in
recent years attendance at meetings has become notoriously poor. A meeting
always involves a religious service at some point, and much of the rest of the
meeting is made up of private ritual events such as initiations and installations, and of the business of running the lodge. Indeed, most of the discussion
entails lodge finances, lodge membership and the organisation of
forthcoming parades. For most lodges the focus of the year is the parades that
take place on and around the Twelfth and many brethren only turn up at
the July parades. Lodge meetings are therefore usually sustained by the hard
core of officials. There are continual complaints from the more active
membership about the poor attendance at lodge meetings. Although lodge
halls are the focus for social events such as Orange balls and dinners, the
Twelfth is the day on which everyone appears.
Each lodge keeps a lodge book recording its membership, the dues paid by
brethren to the Institution (which may be a few pounds a month),
attendance at meetings and the minutes of meetings. The lodge book
provides a resource through which the history of the lodge can be traced. In
recent years many Orange Districts have published small local histories of
the Orange lodges in their area. These invariably list the Masters of the lodge
from its foundation and mention significant individuals and war veterans, as
well as repeating the stories of local battles along with Derry, Aughrim,
Enniskillen and the Boyne.
Each lodge has its own identity, and is felt to have a specific character.
Their names might identify with a particular historical figure, political or
religious Cromwell, William of Orange, William Johnston, Edward
Saunderson, Edward Carson, Winston Churchill, St Patrick, Reverend Cooke
or Hugh Hanna. Alternatively, an individual of specific importance to the
lodge, such as an ex-member, might appear in the name. The name might
commemorate an event, particularly a battle the Siege of Derry, Enniskillen,
the Boyne, Aughrim, the Somme. The name might incorporate a particular

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


work place the Great Northern Railway, the shipyard, the Post Office. The
name might invoke an idea True Blue, Temperance, Total Abstinence,
Crown and Bible, Defender, Loyal, Royal. Perhaps most commonly, particularly in rural areas, the name recalls a sense of place a townland, a
village, or a district. Indeed, sometimes it can be a place that members used
to be connected with. In the country there are lodges connected with the
house of the local landlord or gentry. Since some lodges in Belfast were set up
by people who moved from the countryside in the second half of the
nineteenth century, they carry names such as Fermanagh and Tyrone
United Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) or Donegal LOL.
Nearly all Orange lodges have a lodge banner. These are expensive and
ornate items which are carried at the head of a lodge on mini-Twelfth parades
and on the Twelfth. Far and away the most popular image is that of King
William riding a white horse at the Battle of the Boyne. The other most
commonly used images are those of the Crown above an open Bible or a
reigning or past monarch. It is quite common to see ideas of Empire
represented by a picture of a young Queen Victoria handing a Bible to a
kneeling Indian prince with the motto The Secret of Englands Greatness
below it. However, there is a whole range of images which reflect the themes
mentioned above such as the portrait of a historical figure or the depiction of
particular events. Sometimes a particular building such as a local church or
the Orange hall might be depicted, or even a train or the shipyard, suggesting
the industrial roots of the lodge (Jarman 1997a, 1999b).
Each lodge has a number of financial commitments. A banner can last for
thirty years or more although many are replaced more often. A new banner
can cost 2,000 or more and must be decided on well in advance as the few
banner painters in Northern Ireland have very full order books. For most
parades, but particularly the Twelfth, a lodge will want to hire a band, which
can cost over 300. It is also quite common for the lodge to provide catering
for the band they have hired. Add to this the upkeep and heating of the
Orange hall and there is clearly a significant financial commitment over the
year. If this financial commitment is spread over many brethren then a lodge
can be reasonably financially comfortable. For instance, some lodges have
forty or fifty members, and some of the largest lodges used to have hundreds.
But many lodges are much smaller than this and may even be reduced to
under ten active members. Orange lodges are not usually well-off.
Private lodges can also make local bylaws, though these regulations
require approval from the Grand Lodge before they come into operation.
There is usually no problem as long as they are consistent with the laws of
the Institution. Decisions at lodge meetings are made on the basis of a
majority vote. Any member dissatisfied with a decision can take his
complaint to the District lodge.
Lodges therefore capture much that is local and particular. Their
membership, and the position members hold in the lodge, may reflect class
relationships and relationships of patronage both urban and rural. They


Orange Parades

reflect movements in population, and they reflect religious and political particularities in an area. Just as one lodge might act as a social club with
members willing to share a drink, others would be teetotal and highly
religious. Just as one lodge would be politically active, so others would not be
involved at all in overt politics in the narrower sense of the word. Just as one
lodge might be full of local conservative farmers so will another contain trade
unionists and labour supporters. Just as one lodge may be drawn from a Presbyterian Church so another might be drawn from the Church of Ireland or
Methodist congregations. Many lodges contain a diverse range of men who
simply live in the same area. At the level of the private lodge the Orange Order
is a diverse organisation.

District and County Grand Lodge

Each private lodge sends six representatives to the District lodge. There are
126 District lodges in Ireland. The District lodge is usually in a larger lodge
building, but often meets in the same building as the private lodges, about
once every three months. For instance, Portadown No. 1 District is based at
the Carlton Street hall in Portadown and, although quite a few of the lodges
meet at the relatively large building, there are also a number of outlying
Orange halls, there being at least three other Orange halls within a couple of
miles of Carlton Street hall. In Belfast the situation is slightly different. There
are nine Districts in Belfast, although they are numbered up to ten since
Districts 7 and 8 recently combined due to their small size. All of the District
halls date from around the last quarter of the nineteenth century, which saw
such a great expansion of Orangeism in Belfast. The largest Districts, with
over thirty lodges each, are Sandy Row, District No. 5, in the south of the
city and Ballymacarrett, District No. 6 in the east of the City. Also in the south
of the city, on the Ormeau Road, is Ballynafeigh, District No. 10, which has
seven private lodges. There is a large Orange hall on the Shankill in west
Belfast where No. 9 District meets. Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7/8 meet at Clifton
Street Orange Hall in the north of the city.
A District can also introduce its own bylaws as long as they do not
contradict the rules of the Orange Institution. District lodges, for instance,
can have differing attitudes towards the sale of alcohol on the premises. I am
aware of one district that only allows political meetings as long as both major
unionist political parties are represented and are supporting a common
interest. Just as private lodges maintain a sense of history and identity, so
too do District lodges. Many District lodges produce local histories, often to
coincide with major anniversaries such as the tercentenary of the Battle of
the Boyne in 1990, the bicentenary of the Orange Institution in 1995 or the
centenary of their particular District such as Ballymacarrett No. 6 District
or Ballynafeigh No. 10 District celebrated in 1996. In Belfast there is considerable friendly rivalry between Districts, particularly between the two

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


largest Districts of Sandy Row and Ballymacarrett. An Orangeman from one

District will often make a little joke at the expense of the other and officials
from each District pride themselves on the organisation and smart turnout
of their District on the Twelfth. Certain local parades act as an expression of
the prestige and reputation of a District and when the Belfast Districts march
on the Twelfth they receive an especially loud reception in their own area.
Each District elects a set of officials every October: District Master, Deputy
District Master, District Treasurer and District Chaplain being the most
important. Depending upon its size each District lodge sends between seven
and thirteen representatives to the County Grand Lodges. There are twelve
County Grand Lodges in Ireland. Eight are in Northern Ireland: Antrim,
Armagh, Belfast, City of Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and
Tyrone. The other four are in the Republic of Ireland: Cavan, Donegal,
Monaghan and Leitrim. A County Grand Lodge has a mainly coordinating
and disciplinary role, not having major parades to organise. The Twelfth
parades in each County are usually organised by the District hosting the
parade. The venues are on a cycle of between four and eleven years
depending upon the area, so that each District knows when it will next have
a Twelfth to host. The exceptions to this are Belfast and Ballymena which
both hold annual Twelfths. The Ballymena Twelfth is hosted by the local
District but the Belfast Twelfth is organised by the Belfast County Grand
Lodge with the County Grand Secretary chiefly in charge of arrangements.
With the notable exception of the Twelfth in 1999, the parade follows the
same route every year. Despite this, organising the Twelfth in Belfast is still
quite a substantial task. The only other parade that a Belfast County Grand
Lodge organises is the Orange Widows charity church parade, from the
various Districts to the Ulster Hall, on the last Sunday in April. Most Counties
have two meetings a year; County officials being elected in November.

The Grand Lodge of Ireland

Each County Grand Lodge sends a number of representatives, depending on
the size of the County, to the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which has its Headquarters at the House of Orange on the Dublin Road, in Belfast. It is the
highest formal authority for Orangeism in Ireland and has a total
membership of 373. A list of those in the Grand Lodge was recently published
by the Irish Universities Shield of Refuge LOL 369 from a conference
discussing the future of the Orange Order. The Grand Lodge in 1996
included: Grand Master, two Assistant Grand Masters (appointment in the
gift of the Grand Master), fifty-two Deputy Grand Masters (some nominated
by Counties, others appointed by the Grand Lodge, with six nominated by
the Grand Master), Grand Secretary, Past Grand Secretary, Grand Treasurer,
Deputy Grand Treasurer, Deputy Grand Secretary, Executive Officer (the only
full-time, salaried official), four Assistant Grand Secretaries, four Assistant


Orange Parades

Grand Treasurers, Grand Lecturer, Deputy Grand Lecturer, Grand Director

of Ceremonies, Inside Tylor, Librarian, Assistant Librarian, Grand Committee
(sixty members elected from the Counties) and two representatives from the
Orange Standard (the monthly newspaper produced by the Grand Lodge). The
Grand Lodge has twice-yearly meetings from which twice-yearly reports are
produced. It has been noted by a number of Orangemen that the average
attendance at a Grand Lodge meeting is only between 130 and 160. Recent
divisions within the Orange Institution have produced a debate as to how
democratic the Institution really is and changes are in the process of taking
place. Information produced by the Grand Lodge to counter criticism from
within the organisation suggests that 22 per cent of the Grand Lodge hold
County office and 86 per cent also serve at District level.
Within the Grand Lodge there are a number of committees. The committee
which now appears to be the most important is the Central Committee,
though it is apparently a relatively recent development. This includes three
members from each County Grand Lodge in Northern Ireland, two each from
the Counties of Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan and one from Leitrim. The
nineteen other members of this committee are drawn from senior positions
within the Grand Lodge. The Central Committee controls the business for
the full meeting of the Grand Lodge, oversees matters arising between Grand
Lodge meetings and issues press statements. Other committees include the
Grand Committee, sixty members elected from the Counties, which considers
discipline and the application of the rules and regulations, the Finance
Committee, the Education Committee, charged with educating both brethren
and the general public in the principles of Orangeism, the Reformed faith and
the Protestant historical heritage, the Press Committee (apparently inactive)
and the Rules Revision Committee.
Since the mid-1990s there has been growing criticism of the structure of
the Orange Order from within the Institution. The introduction to the Twelfth
Programme of 1996 produced by the Belfast County Grand Lodge gives ample
evidence of this:
The Orange Institution is in ferment. Talk of reform is in the air some would say
reform of some kind is inevitable. There are brethren who argue that the District lodge
is the hub of Orangeism, the engine room: reform should be concentrated on
improving the efficiency and impact of the District lodge on both the Private lodge at
grassroots level and remote County and Grand Orange Lodges at higher levels of the
Institutions structure.

Among the complaints are suggestions that Grand Lodge is undemocratic,

and slow to act. It has been pointed out by members of the Spirit of Drumcree,
a ginger group formed in 1995, that if an issue is raised in a private lodge
and if the private lodge agrees that it should be taken forward, the issue must
then be brought to the District lodge, which must give its approval for it to
be brought to the County Grand Lodge, which then must agree that the issue
should be raised at one of the Grand Lodge meetings, assuming that the

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


Central Committee of the Grand Lodge gives its approval. This ponderous
system, they have argued, acts to protect the Grand Lodge from criticism. At
a meeting in the Ulster Hall on 14 November 1995, organisers of the Spirit
of Drumcree referred to the Grand Lodge as the old men, and criticised the
fact that Deputy Grand Masters are not subject to annual elections. But
perhaps one of the most important criticisms that many of the rank and file
have made concerns the relationship between the Grand Lodge and the
Ulster Unionist Party.


In understanding the political workings of the Orange Institution, the relationship to be most aware of is that between the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
and the Institution. The Orange Institution sends around 120 delegates to
the Ulster Unionist Council, which has around 860 members; the Council
being the body which elected David Trimble as leader of UUP in the Autumn
of 1995. But of course many of the other members of the Ulster Unionist
Council are also Orange brethren. In towns and villages throughout
Northern Ireland UUP meetings still take place in Orange halls, although in
some halls political meetings involving only one party are not allowed. To
the best of my knowledge, of the ten Ulster Unionist Party MPs, eight are
Orangemen. One of the two exceptions is Ken Maginnis, who is nevertheless
in the Apprentice Boys. Interestingly, the Orange credentials of unionist MPs
are not always obvious. Many of them speak on the Twelfth platforms, but
not all of them. John Taylor, MP for the Strangford constituency in County
Down is rarely pictured in his sash. But perhaps the most obvious public
connection between Institution and the UUP was the Grand Master of the
Orange Institution from 1972 to 1997, the Reverend Martin Smyth, an
Ulster Unionist Party Westminster MP for the constituency of South Belfast
from 1982. Some of the criticisms aimed at Martin Smyth by Orangemen
during the crisis over the Drumcree march in 1995 and 1996 centred upon
the idea that he tended to act in the interests of the UUP rather than in the
interests of the Orange Order. Of course, since a significant number of
Orangemen would be supporters of Ian Paisleys Democratic Unionist Party
(DUP) such accusations are not surprising. It is interesting that Robert
Saulters, Martin Smyths successor as Grand Master, did not have overt
political affiliations whilst high-profile potential candidates in the Ulster
Unionist Party did not appear to want the job.
Even during the Stormont era the relationship between Orangeism and
the Unionist Party was not without tension. But in recent years, with the
implementation of direct rule and the success of the DUP, friction has become
such that there is now significant support from both within the Ulster
Unionist Party and the Orange Institution to break the link. The Democratic
Unionist Party returned two MPs in the 1997 general election, gets around


Orange Parades

30 per cent of the unionist vote and, at every European election, Ian Paisley
has come top of the poll within Northern Ireland. The DUP is popular in
working-class areas, particularly in east Belfast where Peter Robinson is MP,
and amongst fundamentalist Protestants. One Orangeman surprised me by
assuring me that Orangemen were not all unionists. When I asked him to
explain, he pointed out that in the Districts in County Down that he was
familiar with there were DUP supporters, Popular Unionists (the now defunct
Ulster Popular Unionist Party led by the former North Down MP, the late
James Kilfedder), Conservatives, Alliance Party members and some Labour
supporters. What he meant, of course, was that many members were no
longer supporters of the Ulster Unionist Party, not unionism per se. To that
list of unionist political parties can now be added the Progressive Unionist
Party (PUP), Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), the UK Unionists (UKUP), the
Northern Ireland Unionist Party (NIUP) and the United Unionist Party, all
with seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The UUP, at a generous
estimate, represents not much over half of those who would support the
Union. Therefore, the relationship between the Institution, particularly the
Grand Lodge, and the UUP has caused widespread resentment. Significant
numbers of Orangemen felt that Martin Smyth tended to act more in the
interests of his position as an Ulster Unionist MP than he did as the Grand
Master of the Orange Institution. This was particularly strongly felt over the
issue of the right to parade when he failed to appear at Drumcree in 1995,
preferring to work from the Grand Lodge in Belfast. Nevertheless, in spite of
calls for him to resign his post in the Orange Institution, there was little
danger of him losing the annual election for the Grand Master taken in
December 1995 by the Grand Lodge. This simply increased the calls from
the Spirit of Drumcree Group for one man, one vote, the introduction of
greater democracy to the Institution, and the breaking of the hold of the
Central Committee which was, according to a Spirit of Drumcree leaflet,
Official Unionist [UUP] to a man.
The Orange Institution has a strong egalitarian ethos and a weak
authority structure. The Grand Master, although having a relatively secure
position, does not have enormous power within the Institution. The Grand
Lodge controls the rules of the Institution, and it is the final arbiter on
disputes and disciplinary measures. Importantly, it provides the main link
between the Institution and the media with Officials in the Grand Lodge, particularly the Grand Master and the Executive Officer answering for and
publicly defending Institution. Yet many parts of the Institution act with
great independence. County Grand Lodges, District lodges, and private lodges
organise the parades and make most of the decisions. In the disputes over
the right to parade the District and County Grand Lodges are the important
decision-making bodies. It has been particularly noticeable in the dispute
over the Drumcree church parade in Portadown that senior Orangemen
outside the District have had to act with care and not be seen to be overriding
the wishes of Portadown District. At times the relationship between

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


Portadown Orangemen and the Grand Lodge has been uneasy. Orangemen
from outside the District could only take part in negotiations at the request
of Portadown No. 1 District. Consequently, the Grand Master is often left to
defend, in the name of Orange unity, actions that he has relatively little
control over and it is also not uncommon for the media responses of the
Grand Lodge to be criticised by others in the Institution. Taking into account
the relative autonomy of the parts of the Orange Institution, the disparate
nature of unionist politics and particularly the popularity of Paisley a
staunch unionist not in the Institution we can better understand the
tensions and political dynamics within parades.

The explicit ideological purpose of the Institution is to defend the Protestant
Reformed Churches. The Institution has a set of qualifications and rules that
appear in the Constitution, Laws and Ordinances of the Loyal Institution of Ireland
(Grand Lodge of Ireland 1967). Central to Orangeism are the qualifications
to which a member should adhere.
An Orangeman should have sincere love and veneration for his heavenly Father; a
humble and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, the saviour of mankind, believing in him
as the only Mediator between God and man. He should cultivate truth and justice,
brotherly kindness and charity, devotion and piety, concord and unity, and obedience
to the laws; his deportment should be gentle and compassionate, kind and courteous,
he should seek the society of the virtuous, and avoid that of evil; he should honour and
diligently study the Holy Scriptures, and make them the rule of his faith and practice,
he should love, uphold, and defend the Protestant religion, and sincerely desire and
endeavour to propagate its doctrines and precepts, he should strenuously oppose the
fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act of ceremony of Popish worship; he
should, by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy of that church, its encroachments,
and the extension of its power, ever abstaining from all uncharitable words, actions
or sentiments, towards his Roman Catholic brethren; he should remember to keep
the holy Sabbath day, and attend the public worship of God, and diligently train up
his offspring, and all under his control, in the fear of God, and in the Protestant faith;
he should never take the name of God in vain, but abstain from all cursing and profane
language, and use every opportunity of discouraging these, and all other sinful
practices, in others; his conduct should be guided by wisdom and prudence, and
marked by honesty, temperance, and sobriety; the glory of God and the welfare of
man, the honour of his Sovereign, and the good of his country should be the motive
of his actions.

According to the Constitution when a man wishes to join the Institution he

must be over 17 (or 16 if already a member of the Juniors), not a Papist and
not have been rejected, expelled or suspended by the Institution in the past.
An Orangeman must not betray the proceedings of his lodge; he must bear


Orange Parades

true allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen and to her successors as long as
they remain Protestant; and must agree to assist the magistrates and civil
authorities of these kingdoms in the lawful execution of their duties, when
called upon to do so . . . (Grand Lodge of Ireland 1967).
An individual wishing to become an Orangeman has to be proposed and
seconded by members of a lodge and members are elected by a ballot. If there
is more than one black bean in ten then a member will not be admitted. There
are a series of rules, the breaking of which can lead to suspension or
expulsion. A criminal conviction should, according to the Constitution, lead
to expulsion although in practice this may well not happen. There are a series
of laws governing the relationship an Orangeman should have with
members of the Roman Catholic Church. Marriage to a Roman Catholic and
attendance at a Roman Catholic service can both lead to a member being
expelled. In practice the use of these rules tends to vary among lodges. On
more than one occasion, debate has taken place throughout the Institution
over a member who has attended the funeral of a Catholic. The situation can
be particularly awkward when the Orangeman has an official capacity, such
as mayor of a town and David Trimble, as First Minister (designate) of
Northern Ireland, came under particular criticism in 1998 when he attended
a Catholic funeral of victims of the Omagh bomb.

The reasons most often given for membership of the Institution can probably
be grouped into three overlapping discourses: religious, political and
cultural identity. The most commonly expressed reason for being a member
of the Orange Institution is for its religious significance, specifically, it is
argued, because the principles of the Institution serve to defend the
Protestant reformed faith. A few Orangemen will go so far as to argue that
Orangeism is not political at all, but simply religious. In some rural areas
from the 1950s onwards there was a movement not to have overtly political
speeches at the Field on the Twelfth, a position still maintained in part of
County Antrim. Many Orangemen place great stress on the importance of
biblical teaching within the Institution. The symbolism and ritual of the
degrees within Orangeism, the Orange and the Purple, as well as that of the
allied Institutions the Royal Arch Purple and the Black are based around
biblical teaching. Some lodges particularly stress the religious aspects of
Orangeism, demanding that their brethren give Christian testimony in
public. One Orangeman put it forcefully at a meeting I attended: If you dont
understand Protestantism, you dont understand the Orange Order. He went
on to explain that Protestantism comes from the Latin word protestatio
meaning witness a stand for something. A highly religious interpretation of Orangeism such as this, which stresses biblical authority and the
relationship of man to God, would, I suggest, be a strong part of the discourse

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


of respectable Orangeism. It is often closely tied to ideas of temperance and

abstinence, and the keeping of the Sabbath day. At its most extreme, the
political is almost seen as polluting of the religious. Interestingly, as Bruce
has pointed out, many fundamentalist, evangelical Protestants are ill at ease
with Orangeism because it embraces more liberal strains of Protestant
theology within the Church of Ireland, Presbyterianism and Methodism.
Many fundamentalists, such as members of Ian Paisleys Free Presbyterian
Church, remain unconvinced by respectable Orangeism and remain outside
the Order (Bruce 1986: 1514).
In practice, very few Orangemen would deny that the Orange Institution
in Ireland is political. The relationship between the religious and the
political is not lost on members of the Orange Order; indeed that relationship is seen by many as fundamental. Their Protestantism, as they see it, can
best be defended from Roman Catholicism by the relationship of Northern
Ireland to the British crown, a Protestant monarchy. An Orangeman must
be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and
to her Protestant successors . . . (Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland 1967: 3).
With the notable exception of the commemoration of the Battle of the
Somme, all those other apparently secular battles, the Boyne, Aughrim, the
Siege of Derry, the Battle of the Diamond or Dollys Brae, are understood as
having been in defence of Protestantism. There may be arguments for
remaining part of the United Kingdom that rely upon economic or cultural
logic, but for Orangemen the central thesis remains being Protestant in a
Protestant state. The Orange Institution is seen as important for providing a
political unity for diverse Protestant denominations. At times there is almost
an obsession with the call for unity within Orangeism. Given the fragmentation of political parties supporting the Union, the Orange Institution is still
viewed by many as the uniting force for the Protestant people. At a
conference organised by the Irish Shield of Refuge LOL 369 into the future
of Orangeism Orange solidarity and the numbers of Orangemen were consistently seen as expressions of the strength of the Institution. Apathy and
signs of splits were seen as weaknesses. Some Orangemen will argue that
this is the reason that the Institution should break its links with the Ulster
Unionist Party believing that by freeing itself from the UUP it might better
be able to act as a pan-unionist force. Others would like to see the link broken
so that the religious elements within the Institution can be highlighted.
The third reason given for joining the Orange Order might broadly be
described as the asserting of cultural identity. Put simply, the Institution is
seen as part of the identity of both the Protestant community in general and
the local communities in particular. Joining the Orange Institution is
something that members of ones family do, or people from ones area,
church or workplace do. It is understood as something that has bonded the
community together. Members can trace their family roots through the
lodge. On the Twelfth, all those that live in the area, and many who used to
live in the area, come back together. It is claimed that the Twelfth is the day


Orange Parades

that the local Protestant community publicly asserts its identity. In other
words, Orangeism is seen as a folk culture with its particular rituals and
songs that are British and distinctive to Ulster. Orangemen will point out the
peculiarities of their particular local lodges, that they march on particular
days, that they visit particular memorials, that they always carry a particular
flag, that they are always given tea by the same household at some point
during a parade, or that the lodge always dresses in the same way. Every
lodge, every District, will be able to describe one peculiarity or another.
In no way are these three very general discourses mutually exclusive.
Clearly the religious, the political and the cultural reinforce each other.
A half hour conversation with an Orangeman will reveal all these as aspects
of being an Orangeman, but they exist in different measure amongst different
individuals. And there are many contradictions and tensions. Many
Orangemen, particularly in urban areas, are not regular church attendees.
Indeed, Orangeism might be their one and only identification with Protestantism in a religious sense. They will turn up for the parades around July
and then not be seen for the rest of the year. It is not unusual for a religious
minister taking the Boyne commemoration service on the Sunday before the
Twelfth to chastise his Orange congregation because so many of them are
only seen in church once a year. Even for those Orangemen who are regular
church attendees, Orangeism clearly provides something that their church
does not.
There is a fourth, less explicit, discourse. That discourse could be described
as overtly sectarian or openly anti-Catholic, it is a discourse that reveals a
distrust or hatred of Catholics. This is not the response of respectable
Orangeism and not the impression that most Orangemen want to give to an
anthropologist, journalist or anyone else enquiring about their Orangeism.
Most Orangemen do not see themselves as sectarian. Some Orangemen will
explain at length that whilst the Institution opposes the false doctrines of the
Roman Catholic church it is not sectarian. In other words, they claim it is
anti-Catholic in terms of being Protestant and therefore opposed the
doctrines of the Church of Rome but is not anti-Catholic in terms of people
who are Catholics. In fact it is common for Orangemen to go out of their way
to tell stories that seem to prove the good relationships that they have with
Catholics. Most have neighbours, friends, work mates, even occasionally
relatives, who are Catholic. I have heard countless times the story about how
once upon a time Orange lodges in the country shared their banner poles
with the Hibernians and the band shared their instruments with a nationalist
band. I would not suggest that this is necessarily a myth, but it is interesting
how often one is told the story. There is a clear disjuncture between the
personal relationships an individual has with the other, and they way the
other is perceived as a group.
Much of what takes place in public on the parades appears to the outsider
to be sectarian. In practice, for many involved in the parades, opposition to
the doctrines of the Church of Rome is subsumed under a general distrust of

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


Irish Catholics the other community. This is sometimes revealed in the

recounting of conspiracy theories such as the belief in the infiltration of
Catholics into the media or in the influence of the Pope in the European
Community. But the central reasoning is that Catholics are viewed as Irish
nationalists and therefore a threat to Northern Ireland remaining in the
United Kingdom. Opposition to a united Ireland is not in itself sectarian but
the way it is expressed in the events that surround the Twelfth often is. The
speeches at the field, the activities at the bonfires, the songs, the confrontations and the graffiti merge opposition to the doctrines of the Church of Rome
as symbolised by the Pope, Irish nationalism and the activities of the Republic
of Ireland, Catholics in Northern Ireland and the IRA into a generalised
other. It is interesting to note that whilst it used to be an effigy of the Pope
that was most commonly burned on the Eleventh night bonfire, it is now the
Irish Tricolour. A few Orangemen will explicitly explain that their Orangeism
is about opposing the doctrines of Roman Catholicism and not Catholics per
se. Orangemen frequently point out that the Orange Order stands for civil
and religious liberties for all and that whilst their Constitution calls for an
Orangeman to oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome,
the Orangemen must be ever abstaining from all uncharitable words, action
or sentiments, towards his Roman Catholic Brethren. Yet such subtleties
are lost in popular Orangeism.
There have been some very practical reasons for being an Orangeman.
As discussed in previous chapters, from the mid-nineteenth century
onwards, belonging to the Orange Institution clearly had economic and
political advantages. It was an institution of economic and political
patronage. In what sense is this still the case? Orangemen have told me that
in terms of getting a job or promotion, even in the security forces or civil
services, membership of the Order is now a handicap. This argument is tied
in to the belief, held by significant numbers of Protestants, that since fair
employment legislation has been introduced in order to rectify religious discrimination, it has become harder for Protestants to get employment. This,
they argue, is particularly true of firms whose work force was predominantly
Protestant. Beyond all this they argue that being an Orangeman is now
frowned upon by the establishment and is thus a handicap to achievement.
In addition, the collapse of local manufacturing and its replacement by international businesses has meant that economic patronage that did exist has
now been severely reduced. It has not, however, disappeared. At the very
least, one might describe the Institution in the same terms as a golf club.
Especially in rural areas, membership may well provide business
The position of Orangemen in the police also seems to be changing. It is
difficult to estimate the numbers of police officers that have been or are
Orangemen. In the past, however, there was a clear close relationship
between the Orange Order and the B-Specials, disbanded in 1970, and there
is evidence to suggest that maybe up to a fifth of members of the Ulster


Orange Parades

Defence Regiment were Orangemen (Pat Finucane Centre 1997: 42). By

comparing those members of the Orange Order on the Orange Insitutions
Roll of Honour of those killed in the troubles who were RUC officers the Pat
Finucane Centre estimates 13 per cent of RUC officers to have been
Orangemen (Pat Finucane Centre 1997: 42). I suspect the figure has become
much lower in recent years. It is certainly true that senior policemen would
not now be allowed to hold a prominent public post in the Institution. There
have been recent well-publicised cases of policemen being reprimanded for
taking part in an Orange parade. As such, while the overlap between
membership of the security forces and membership of the Orange Order is
still significant, probably more so in rural areas, an overt relationship is no
longer present. Crucially, disputes over parades in the 1980s and 1990s
have regularly brought the Orange Order directly, and sometimes violently,
into conflict with the RUC. It would be ridiculous to suggest that the relationship which the Orange Institution, and Protestants in general, have with
the police or army is now similar to that of nationalists and the Catholic
community, or that the police force is seen as neutral. There is continued
evidence of an overlap between the local, particularly part-time, elements of
the British army, the Royal Irish Regiment, and support for the Orange
Order. Most Protestants remain very supportive of the police force and I am
aware of incidents when an overlap between membership of the Orange
Order and the police may have made a direct difference to a dispute. Nevertheless, the relationship has changed quite dramatically over the last thirty
years (Bryan et al. 1995: 601; Hamilton et al. 1995; Weitzer 1995; Jarman
and Bryan 1998).
The situation regarding political patronage is less complicated. It is
certainly possible to achieve some seniority within the Ulster Unionist Party
without being in the Orange Institution or any of the other loyal orders. Nevertheless, the relationship is still close and, in terms of political perceptions,
non-membership of the Institution could still be used to raise questions about
the loyalty of a particular individual. The most senior member of the Ulster
Unionist Party not in the Institution is Ken Maginnis, MP for Fermanagh
and South Tyrone. He also has a reputation as a moderate within unionistcircles and probably enjoys a higher standing amongst Catholics. However,
he served with the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and can therefore be seen
as having defended Ulster. The most significant change in the relationship
between Orangeism and political power was the collapse of Stormont in
1972 and the consequent introduction of direct rule, since which, the
Institution has had significantly less influence. Whether this will change if
a local assembly, provided for under the Good Friday Agreement, is
sustained, will be interesting to follow. While membership of the Orange
Institution can certainly facilitate the organisation of both economic and
political influence, I think that it is unlikely that this now forms a significant
reason for individuals to join. Being an Orangeman may still have its

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


advantages, but many brethren would certainly feel that it now carries disadvantages with it.


The Orange Order developed from a largely rural or proto-industrial organisation, growing in specific areas of Ulster, attracting labourers, small farmers
and particular, predominantly Anglican, landowners. It expanded into a
much broader-based organisation, in terms of class and Protestant denomination, with particular growth amongst the Protestant population of a
rapidly growing and industrialising Belfast. It was adopted by nearly all
liberal and conservative unionist politicians, and it has evolved into an
institution of significant economic and political patronage playing an
important role in the development of a Protestant ethnic identity in the north
of Ireland. Yet just as political and economic conditions, from the middle of
the last century until the second half of this century, allowed the Institution
to prosper, political and economic conditions since the 1960s appear to have
been detrimental. The number of Orangemen appears to have been in
decline. Estimating numbers in the Institution is always difficult, not least
because claims by the Institution itself always appear exaggerated. Exact
figures for membership are not published. Nevertheless, because each lodge
makes an annual return to the District of its membership, figures do exist
within the organisation. The figure regularly expressed in the press from the
end of the last century up until very recently was 100,000. However, recent
internal criticism of the Institution coming from the Spirit of Drumcree
group, when questioning the leadership given by Grand Lodge, discussed
membership reducing to under 50,000. Whilst this has not been publicly
acknowledged by the Institution, privately Orangemen accept that numbers
have declined.
This decline needs to be explained as it has taken place at a time when
many Protestants viewed Northern Ireland as under great threat. While the
Orange Institution seems to have lost members from all social strata it has
been clear that the middle classes, particularly those from a professional
background in urban areas, have tended to leave the Institution. This is a
problem of which members of the Institution are aware and it has regularly
come up in discussions I have had with Orangemen. One County Grand
Master compared his own work in the building trade with illustrious, often
aristocratic, positions his predecessors had all had. Certainly a look at the
senior members of the Institution reveals a lower class background than
might have been true up until the 1950s (Haddick-Flynn 1999: 413). Both
of the last two Grand Masters, Martin Smyth and Robert Saulters, come from
ordinary working-class communities in Belfast. This argument is strengthened by the general thesis that middle-class Protestants have left active
politics altogether (Coulter 1994). Whilst much is speculation, it is possible


Orange Parades

to identify reasons why the middle classes might not find membership of the
Institution so attractive. Most obviously, the decreased role of the Institution
in offering significant political or economic patronage could be significant.
However, of perhaps more importance is the connection of Orange parades
to civil unrest in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As the parades increasingly became the catalyst for destabilisation, and even led to confrontations
with the RUC and British army, one would expect certain sections of the
Orange Order to become disillusioned. The Orange Institution may have been
perceived as too loyalist, and had the nasty whiff of sectarianism surrounding
it. Street politics, with sectarian clashes in fractured urban areas, was not
the place for the budding solicitor or accountant. Orange parades, particularly in urban areas, had started to be in direct confrontation with the forces
of the state: Orangeism was struggling to remain respectable.
However, the middle class abandoning the Institution cannot in itself
explain the decline in numbers. There also seems to have been a shift in
working-class areas from the Orange Institution into other expressions of
loyalism, particularly the marching bands, which I will discuss in the next
chapter. Reports and political speeches from the time, and particularly
material that appeared in news-sheets supporting the paramilitaries such as
the UVFs Combat, suggest that the Orange Order had become widely
perceived as being politically impotent. It is significant that from 1972 the
UDA organised large groups of men marching in Protestant working-class
areas like the Shankill. This is a continuation of the critique that developed
in the 1960s and crystallised in the fundamentalist politics of Paisley and
the loyalism of the paramilitary groups. Neither would be directly critical of
Orangeism, but the Paisleyites would tend to criticise the Institution for its
Romeward trend and connections with the Ulster Unionist Party, and the
loyalists would criticise its moderate views and its lack of leadership and
practical activity. The Orange Institution, particularly its formal leadership,
was no longer seen as representing the heart of unionism and its authority,
its ability to offer leadership, thereby significantly declined. There were, and
are, links between Orange lodges and loyalist paramilitary groups, both
symbolic and in terms of personnel, particularly in specific areas. But I would
suggest that they have reduced in number and that those with allegiances
to the paramilitaries who have stayed in the Order have become disenchanted with the Grand Lodge. This political matrix has been further
complicated by some within the political groupings connected to the paramilitaries (the PUP, associated with the UVF, and the UDP, associated with
the UDA) trying to distance themselves from Orangeism and to articulate a
left-wing, non-sectarian form of unionism. The fractures within unionist
politics have made some loyalists doubt the relevance of the Orange
Institution to the loyalist cause. Put simply, the middle class have left because
the Institution is too loyal and some of the working class have left because it
is not loyal enough. The working class tend to leave because they do not trust
the leadership of the Institution to wield its influence properly whilst the

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


middle class tend to leave because they believe the Institution has no
influence. Consequently, caught between the need to satisfy hard-liners and
yet retain respectability, with widespread political divisions within unionism
and no local assembly, the Orange Institution has become relatively
politically ineffectual.
This complex network of political relations within unionism, in which the
Orange Order played a central role, has continued to reveal itself during the
parade disputes in both the mid-1980s and the 1990s. For instance, in 1985
and 1986 the disputes of parades in the Tunnel area of Portadown led to a
struggle between the Grand Lodge, Ian Paisley and the UDA in an attempt to
portray themselves as leaders of unionism through a defence of the right to
parade. Attempts were made to provide organisations that all unionists could
support, such as the United Ulster Loyalist Front which became the Ulster
Clubs, but their influence was short lived (Bryan et al. 1995; Bryan 1998b).
Similarly, the Drumcree disputes in 1995 and 1996 were characterised not
only by competition between UUP and DUP politicians but also were in part
responsible for the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) breaking away from the
UVF. The Orange Insitution has failed to be a unifying body for unionism.


Before moving on to examine ritual expressions of Orangeism more closely,
it is important to discuss other organisations involved in the parades. The
generic term Orange parade is frequently used to cover parades that are
held by other loyalist organisations, commonly termed the loyal orders, and
bands. However, whilst many individuals are in more than one of the loyal
orders there are some substantial differences in the ethos and political role of
the various organisations which reflect on the range of events that go to
make up the marching season.
Two of the loyal orders related to the Orange Institution, the Royal Black
Institution and the Royal Arch Purple, have developed from being Orange
degrees. The degrees, which are associated with Old Testament texts, are
similar to divisions used by the Freemasons and are part of the internal
structuring of Orangeism which I do not consider here (see Buckley 1985;
Buckley and Anderson 1988; Haddick-Flynn 1999). The relationship
between the Royal Black Institution and the Orange Institution is so close
that it is debatable whether one can see them as separate organisations. The
early Orange Institution developed a series of degrees through which
members passed, some of which were sanctioned by the Grand Lodge, such
as the Arch Purple, and some of which were not and were banned. Nevertheless, these alternative degrees continued to exist and one of these the
Black had become particularly widespread by the 1850s. Eventually, the
Royal Black Institution was officially constituted as a separate organisation
from the Orange (McClelland 1990: 22). Individual members of the Black


Orange Parades

Institution are grouped into Preceptories and the organisational structure

in many respects mirrors that of the Orange. One can only become a member,
and acquire the title Sir Knight, by proceeding through certain Orange
degrees. The Black Institution is best described as more religious and less
overtly political than the Orange. Its banners and regalia reflect this religious
bias, particularly in the form of Old Testament imagery (Buckley 1985;
Jarman 1997a: 1847, 1999b). It is strongest in the rural areas of Counties
Down and Armagh and has its headquarters at Brownlow House in Lurgan,
County Armagh. The Black Institution is more middle class, rural, elderly
and religious. It is the more conservative face of Orangeism, the more conservative face of unionism. Nevertheless, while it displays many more of the
attributes of respectable Orangeism it has similarly lost middle-class
membership and most Black parades do have blood and thunder bands
taking part. Major Black parades take place in 13 July at Scarva, County
Down and on the Last Saturday of August and, like the Orange, Black preceptories would organise parades to church services. To join the Black you
first have to join the Royal Arch Purple. The Royal Arch Purple is even more
closely tied to the Orange Institution than is the Black. The first meeting of
the Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter of Ireland was in 1911, the Royal Arch
Purple developing out of an Orange degree (Royal Arch Purple Research
Group n.d.). The Royal Arch Purple has very few parades.
There is also a youth section of the Orange Order. Junior Orange lodges
first appeared in the last century but did not come under the control of the
Grand Orange Lodge until 1925. It is probably at its strongest in Belfast,
catering for boys under 16. In 1974 the running of the organisation was
handed over to the Junior Grand Lodge of Ireland. The Juniors, or
Juveniles as it is sometimes referred to, organise parades but also tries to
involve the youngsters in other recreations and holiday trips. There are also
Womens Orange lodges that parade. They are structured into a separate
organisation known as the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland.
Their profile has risen in recent years particularly around support of the
Drumcree dispute.
Smaller than the Black or the Orange Institution, with around 12,000
members, the Apprentice Boys of Derry was founded in its present form in
1814. If the Orange Institution has the Battle of the Boyne as its main commemorative event, the Apprentice Boys have the Siege of Derry from 1688
to 1689. Whilst the Apprentice Boys share the Protestant religious ethos of
the Orange Order the central purpose of the organisation is to commemorate
the Siege. Apprentice Boys wear a distinctive crimson collarette and usually
carry bannerettes rather than large banners. The City of Londonderry is seen
as so important that anyone wishing to become an Apprentice Boy must be
initiated within the city walls. The organisation is divided into eight Parent
clubs: Baker, Browning, Campsie, Mitchelbourne, Murray, Walker, the
Apprentice Boys of Derry Club and the No Surrender Club. Affiliated to one

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


of these clubs are a series of branch clubs organised through Ireland,

Scotland, England and beyond. The clubs in a particular area combine to
form an Amalgamated Committee (Jarman and Bryan 1996: 1112).
The Apprentice Boys of Derry is a quite separate organisation from either
the Orange or the Black Institution. It is impossible to know exactly how
many of its members are in the Orange as well but I would estimate it as
certainly over 50 per cent. It is more regional than the Orange, with its
greatest strength being in the Londonderry area, and it has fewer major
parades. Significantly, although the Apprentice Boys used to have formal
connections with the Ulster Unionist Council they parted company in 1974.
There are also fewer occasions at Apprentice Boys events at which
politicians speak or get directly involved. Senior Apprentice Boys stress that
their organisation exists to commemorate the siege of Derry. This appears
to have left the organisation better able to cope with diversities within
unionist politics. Ian Paisley is a member, although his relationship with
the Apprentice Boys has not been without its ups and downs. In some areas
the political position of the Apprentice Boys might be more closely allied to
the politics of the DUP but there is no direct relationship and on some issues
there are significant differences (Bryan et al. 1995; Jarman and Bryan
1996). For instance, in contrast to the Orange and to many DUP supporters,
the Apprentice Boys are more relaxed in their attitude to the consumption
of alcohol on its premises. The Apprentice Boys are also less strict on
controlling the types of flags that are flown at its parades. I have seen flags
supporting the Ulster Independence movement carried at a number of
Apprentice Boys parades.
The symbolic importance of the City of Derry to the Apprentice Boys is
reflected in power relations within their Institution. The Governor of the
Apprentice Boys is always from the city and the views of Apprentice Boys in
the city carry great weight in the organisation. This greater centralisation
has made the organisation better able to develop a strategy for dealing with
opposition to their parades in the City of Derry from the Bogside Residence
Group (Jarman and Bryan 1996; Kelly 1998). Whilst the Orange Orders
Grand Lodge has failed to give an authoritative lead on the parading issue,
Derry Apprentice Boys have entered into talks with residents and the Parades
Commission on a number of occasions. They have attempted to make
significant changes to their parades held in the city on the nearest Saturday
to 12 August, including developing one part of it as a pageant. The
Apprentice Boys and the Orange Order share many members in common as
well as the use of many lodge buildings and a broad Protestant and unionist
perspective. However, there is relatively little communication between the
two organisations at a senior level and the Apprentice Boys have taken significantly different approaches on a number of issues in recent years.
There is also a relatively small organisation, the Independent Orange
Order, the origins of which were explained in Chapter 4. It is numerically


Orange Parades

strongest in the north Antrim area where the Orange Institution is

sometimes referred to as the old Order. There are two distinctions between
the Independent Orange Order and the old Order. First, the Independents
place great stress upon certain religious issues, particularly the protection
of the Sabbath day, and they have a more overtly strict attitude to alcohol.
Second, the Independents pride themselves on not being affiliated to a
political party. It was due to disagreements with senior Ulster Unionists that
the Independent Institution was founded. There is also some evidence in
recent years to suggest that disenchanted members of the old Order join the
Independents as an alternative. After an incident at the Scarva Black parade
in 1976 involving the heckling of Martin Smyth, some Portadown
Orangemen were suspended and went on to form an Independent Orange
lodge in the area, which held its first parade in 1979 (Bryan et al. 1995: 20).
The perception amongst many outsiders is that they are connected to the
DUP. It is easy to see why this misconception comes about. North Antrim is
Ian Paisleys Westminster constituency and he gives a speech wearing a sash
at the Independents Twelfth demonstration (usually held in Ballycastle,
Ballymena or Ballymoney) and is consequently always depicted on local and
national television as if he were an Orangeman. This gives Paisley an ideal
opportunity to demonstrate broader Orange credentials. In fact the sash is
white, with red and blue trim which, I think, belongs to an organisation
called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers with which Paisley was involved in
the mid-1960s.
To many outside the loyal orders, members of all these various organisations
are just Orangemen, parades being consistently referred to as Orange
parades regardless of who actually organises them. Indeed, parades are
frequently used by the media as an image of the whole Protestant community
in Northern Ireland. Certainly, there is a sense of common purpose amongst
all those in the loyal orders. Nearly all of them are unionist, that is, if we
ignore the small number with Ulster Independence leanings. Also there are
many who are members of more than one of the Institutions. All of the institutions draw upon a similar set of symbolic references and upon a discourse
of loyalty and the defence of the Reformed faith, and they all have similar
ritual practices. However, in this chapter I have set out the more specific and
localised sense of identity that exists within the Orange Institution, and have
argued that not all Orangemen share the same understanding of what it is
to be an Orangeman, that the particular form of the Orange Institution and
present political divisions within unionism give the Orange Institution a
relatively decentralised authority structure, and that there are significant
differences between the different loyal orders. They have different organisational structures, different leaders, and have their own particular political
and regional profiles. All this is important when we examine the large
number of parades in Northern Ireland. I have also begun to explore the

The Orange and Other Loyal Orders


changes that have taken place to the Orange Order since the 1960s. Most
significantly, the reduction of membership has left the Orange Order
struggling to depict itself as representative of Protestantism in Ireland.
Further, the fragmentation of unionist party politics has inevitably led to
increased political tensions within the Institution. The events in Portadown
since 1995 have started to make these changes much more obvious.


In this chapter the Twelfth parades are placed within the context of a cycle
of parades commonly referred to as the marching season and the way participants prepare for the forthcoming big day of the Twelfth is examined.
Key players in all loyalist parades are the marching bands and I will elaborate
on the role of the bands and suggest that they have their own regional, class
and political profile. Locality is also of importance in the events. As has
already been stressed, the Orange Institution is geographically divided and
this is reflected in many of the events leading to the Twelfth. Rural Orangeism
can be distinguished from Orangeism in Belfast and in Belfast itself local
identities can be clearly distinguished. I therefore discuss the way particular
parts of Belfast hold their local parades and how the class and ethnic makeup of the local affects the parades. One Orange parade is not just like any
other (see for instance Cecil 1993).
In 1997 there were 3,314 parades in Northern Ireland according to
figures produced by the RUC (see Appendix 1). The vast majority of these,
2,582, are classified as loyalist (230 republican, 502 other). Northern
Ireland now has specific, unique, provisions for the control of parades. Under
the Public Processions Act (Northern Ireland) 1998, an organisation
wishing to have a parade must submit a Notice of Intention to Organise a
Procession known as the 11/1 to the police twenty-eight days in
advance. The only sorts of procession not requiring an application are
funeral processions and those held by the Salvation Army along a route
customarily followed by them. Surprisingly, legislation does not define what
is meant by a procession. Those organisations applying for permission must
indicate the date and time of procession, the route, the numbers likely to take
part where practicable, the number and names of bands likely to take part,
the arrangements made for controlling the procession and the name of a
person representing the organisation. Previously, under the Public Order
(NI) Order 1987, senior RUC officers were empowered to place conditions
upon such an event so as to prevent disorder, damage, disruption, or intimidation. Under the new legislation, brought about by the parades disputes,
a Parades Commission makes determinations on a disputed parade or lays
down various conditions for a parade to take place. The 11/1 also asks for
information such as the uniforms and regalia to be worn, the banners and

The Marching Season


flags to be carried, the names of the speakers if there is to be a meeting, and

the methods of transport if participants are moving to another parade.
Guidelines from the Parades Commission are now given to procession
organisers about how to control the procession, where it should position itself
on the public road and the role of stewards. Guidelines also ask that bands
should cease playing when approaching a place of worship if a service is in
The legislative changes came about because of the escalating number of
disputes after 1995 and calls from certain politicians, from inside the RUC
and from some nationalist groups, for even tighter controls. In the pages that
follow I will explain some of the reasons for all these requirements and the
push for greater control. The sheer number and nature of loyalist parades is
bewildering, so to begin with I suggest the following typology for parades
which Neil Jarman and myself developed (Jarman and Bryan 1996:1524),
and discuss the annual cycle of events.
(1) Main Annual Commemorative Parades. These parades are the focal
events for the loyal orders. For the Orange Institution the Boyne Parades
on 12 July, for the Black the demonstration at Scarva on 13 July, the commemoration of the Battle of Newtownbutler held in County Fermanagh early
in August, and Last Saturday parades held at six venues on the last
Saturday in August, and for the Apprentice Boys of Derry the Relief of
Derry parade held on or around 12 August, and the closing of the Gates of
Derry on or around 18 August. These parades are seen as the most important
commemorative dates by members of the loyal orders and are the occasions
that attract the biggest crowds. There are nineteen major parades on 12 July,
organised by various Orange Districts. Most areas have the Twelfth organised
according to a cycle so that a particular District will hold a main parade every
so many years. The main commemorative Last Saturday Black parades do
not strictly commemorate anything but appear to mark the end of the
marching season. The two major Apprentice Boys commemorative parades
are always held in the City of Londonderry.
(2) Local Parades. Within this category are mini-Twelfths, little Twelfths
or pre-Twelfths held by the Orange Institution from the middle of June until
a few days before July. They take place within particular Districts and involve
a full display of regalia and banners. Some invited lodges from outside the
District might take part, but they are essentially a local event. The parade in
some senses marks the boundary of the District since it stays within a certain
area, although there are no rigorous District boundaries. The mini-Twelfth
parades of No. 5 and No. 6 District in Belfast, that commemorate the Battle
of the Somme, always take place on 1 July (unless 1 July is a Sunday). There
has been a great increase in the number of mini-Twelfth parades since the
mid-1960s. Prior to the Troubles local lodges paraded the banner to the lodge
Masters house. As the security problems increased, this practice became
awkward for the police and it was replaced by a single District parade. New
mini-Twelfths have continued to appear during the 1980s and 1990s,


Orange Parades

including one in Portadown in 1990 which has a different theme every year
(Jones et al. 1996: 57). For many Districts the mini-Twelfth may be the
biggest parade they have that year, since the Twelfth itself will involve them
travelling to another District in the County. Some Blackmen will also have
local parades prior to the Last Saturday parade.
(3) Feeder Parades. Many lodges, and most Districts have small parades in
their own area before leaving to travel to a main commemorative parade,
and have another parade on their return. There may be only nineteen main
commemorative parades on the Twelfth, but the RUC recorded 547
processions in total on the Twelfth of 1995. In Belfast the feeder parade leads
directly onto the main commemorative parade. Many of the Private lodges
would have assembled away from the District lodge and marched to the
District hall before that. However, in country areas the feeder parade will
start at a lodge hall and take a route through the village to the buses that
will transport the lodges and bands to the main parade. Most Apprentice
Boys Clubs will also have feeder parades in their area before proceeding to
Londonderry on buses for the August Relief of Derry commemoration.
Similar parades also take place on the return home from the main commemorative event.
(4) Church Parades. Parades take place prior to the church services that
are arranged by all the loyal orders. They meet at the hall and parade to the
church and they parade back, possibly by a different route, after the service.
Private lodges, Districts and occasionally Counties may organise church
services. There will be services on St Patricks Day, for the Loyal Orange
Widows Fund late in April, to commemorate the Battle of the Somme on the
Sunday before 1 July, on the Sunday before the Twelfth for the Boyne
Service, on the Sunday before the Last Saturday, and on Reformation
Sunday late in October. Many private lodges will have their own particular
Sunday service and the Apprentice Boys have services in different areas
throughout the year. Some new church parades have developed in the last
few years, for instance, lodges in east Belfast have had a church parade on
St Patricks day only since 1985.
While bands do accompany lodges on church parades they are asked not
to play party tunes and it is often the accordion and more respectable bands
that are arranged for these occasions. Nevertheless, even on some church
parades there are blood and thunder bands playing The Sash.
(5) Arch, Banner and Hall Parades. These parades are held at the opening
of an Orange Arch, which may well take place annually and could be part of
a mini-Twelfth parade, and at the unfurling of a new banner or the opening
of a new Orange Hall. Prominent politicians often make speeches at these
events and it is also common to have a religious service at some point in the
proceedings. These events are usually relatively small, involving just local
lodges and bands.
(6) Social Parades. Parades organised by the Junior Orange Institution on
Easter Tuesday, in May and June, a number of parades organised by the

The Marching Season


Womens Orange Institution, the Apprentice Boys parade on Easter Monday

are not related to any particular anniversaries.
(7) Occasional Parades. In recent years there have been a number of
notable, sometimes large, one-off parades. On 15 May 1982 Belfast
Orangemen organised a parade to point out the serious problem of unemployment.1 In 1990 there were numerous events to mark the tercentenary
of the Battle of the Boyne, including a large parade through the centre of
Belfast. In 1994 the Institution held a rally in Belfast on the theme of British
citizens demand British rights. In September 1995, possibly the largest
Orange demonstration ever took place in Loughgall, County Armagh, to
mark the bicentenary of the Institution. And during the dispute at Drumcree
in 1996 and 1998 there were a whole series of protest parades in Districts all
over Northern Ireland. Many parades of this class may well be preceded and
followed by feeder parades.
(8) Competitive Band Parades. The most obvious development in parades
since the 1960s has been the enormous increase in what are known as blood
and thunder or kick the pope flute bands. As well as playing a large part in
other parades, many of these bands have started their own competitive
parades. These parades are held in the area a particular band comes from
and the host band judges and presents a number of trophies in different
categories covering style, music and the different types of band. At these
parades a street collection is often made to raise money for the host band.
There are competitive band parades taking place on most Friday and
Saturday evenings and afternoons on almost every weekend from March
right the way through to September. The largest of these, such as the ones
held in Markethill, County Armagh or Ballymena, County Antrim, can
attract over fifty bands from all over the countryside. Bands advertise their
own event by going to other bands events and issuing an invitation. The
more events a band visits, the more visitors they should have at their own
band parade. If a town has more than one band, it may well have a number
of band parades in the year. Portadown has three band parades a year and
there are over a dozen in the Belfast area throughout the summer. When
one considers that some bands also parade in their local area, when
returning from a band parade, then it is clear that band parades partly
explain the increase in the total number of parades in recent years.
(9) Commemorative Band Parades. These parades chiefly involve bands but
are usually organised by loyalist paramilitary groups to mark the Somme in
July, or Armistice Day in November, and also on occasions to commemorate
the loyalist paramilitary dead. Wreaths are often laid, in the first case at
official memorials and in the second at paramilitary wall murals or commemorative plaques (see Jarman 1993, 1997a).
The above typology gives some idea of the diversity and extensive range of
events that make up the marching season (see Appendix 2). The Black Last
Saturday parades appear to have developed as major events after the First


Orange Parades

World War. The Apprentice Boys and Junior parades that take place on
Easter Monday and Tuesday respectively were started in the 1930s,
apparently as a deliberate attempt to counter republican Easter Sunday
parades. A few mini-Twelfths started after the Second World War, but most
have appeared since the mid-1960s. Irregular band parades have taken place
since the last century, but the more highly developed and organised
competitive band parade events have increased in number throughout the
1970s and 1980s. The marching season used to be understood as starting
in late June and finishing at the end of August. Now it is commonly seen as
starting at Easter and continuing into September.
There are a number of parades which take place before Easter. In a number
of areas there are church parades on the nearest Sunday to St Patricks Day.
On Easter Monday the Amalgamated Committee of the Apprentice Boys hold
a parade at a rotating venue away from Londonderry. Easter Tuesday sees
the Junior Orangemen from Belfast and South Antrim march, normally at a
seaside resort in Antrim or Down. The Orange Widows service at the Ulster
Hall takes place at the end of April. In May, a relatively quiet month, there
are a number of church parades, Orange and Apprentice Boys, from
particular lodges and clubs and the Juniors of Armagh, south Tyrone and
Fermanagh parade at a seaside resort. There are a number of band parades
every Friday and Saturday on every weekend from May until September
unless there is a main commemorative parade taking place. On the first
Saturday in June the Belfast Amalgamated Committee of the Apprentice Boys
hold a parade in north, south, east or west Belfast on rotation. The following
Saturday sees the first mini-Twelfth of the season, in Portadown, and the
landing of William at Carrickfergus is commemorated in the town with a reenactment and a parade. From mid-June on there are mini-Twelfth parades
on most Fridays and Saturdays somewhere in Northern Ireland up until the
Twelfth. On the final two weekends of June there are large mini-Twelfths
that take place in north and west Belfast respectively. There are church
parades on every Sunday in June with the Somme commemoration services
taking place on the last Sunday in June, or 1 July if it is a Sunday. This is the
date for a number of Somme anniversary mini-Twelfths, most notably in
south Belfast, Sandy Row No. 5 District and in east Belfast, Ballymacarrett
No. 6 District. Between 1 July and the Twelfth, mini-Twelfths take place on
weekdays as well as over the weekend in Belfast and towns all over the north.
On the Saturday before the Twelfth many bandsmen and some Orangemen
go to the Boyne commemoration parades held in Scotland, and by the
Donegal County Lodge at Rossnowlagh in the Republic of Ireland. The
Sunday before the Twelfth, or 12 July itself if it falls on a Sunday, Orange
lodges attend a Boyne commemoration service at a church with a
consequent parade to and from the service. On 12 July, or 13 July if the
Twelfth falls on a Sunday, the major Twelfth Boyne commemoration Orange
parades take place. On the following day, or on the Monday if the following
day is a Sunday, the Black Preceptories of Counties Armagh and Down hold

The Marching Season


a parade and a Sham Fight at Scarva in County Down to which Blackmen

from all over the north travel, with associated feeder parades beforehand.
There is also a smaller Black parade held in Bangor, County Down. Both 12
July and 13 July are public holidays in Northern Ireland. On the weeks
following the Twelfth there are a number of band parades, including a couple
on Saturday afternoons in parts of Belfast. There are also some church
parades late in July. Early in August, east Belfast Junior Orange Lodges
parade in east Belfast, then travel to a parade at a seaside resort and some
Black Preceptories hold Sunday church parades. On the Saturday nearest to
12 August the Apprentice Boys hold their main commemorative parade in
Londonderry with many amalgamated clubs holding feeder parades before
and after their journey to the Londonderry parade. Also on the Saturday
nearest 12 August the Blackmen of County Fermanagh parade to
commemorate the Battle of Newtownbutler. As the end of August
approaches Black Preceptories hold local parades and church parades and on
the Last Saturday of August there are six main Black parades and a large
number of feeder parades before and after the main parades. There are some
band parades right into October, with the last major Orange church parade
taking place on the last Sunday of October, Reformation Day. There are a
variety of loyalist parades in November to mark Armistice Day and there are
a few Orange lodges that hold church services to mark Guy Fawkes Day.
Finally, on the Saturday nearest 18 December the Apprentice Boys in Derry
mark the Closing of the Gates of Derry in 1688 by burning an 18-foot-high
effigy of the traitor Lundy. The burning is preceded by a parade.
There are bound to be smaller parades that I am unaware of, but the above
description of the parading calendar gives some idea of the plethora of events
that go to make up the 2,500 plus loyalist parades (for further details see
Jarman and Bryan 1996: 2534). To many outsiders, particularly to nationalists, they are all just Orange parades; to loyalists they have their own
particular meanings and their own particular importance.


The most important and most popular of the parading dates is 12 July. It
was made a public holiday in 1926 and the nearest weekend to the Twelfth
still marks the date when factories close for two weeks and large numbers
of the population prepare to take their holidays. The schools in Northern
Ireland close for the summer three weeks earlier than in England because of
the Twelfth. A particular band may or may not take part in various other
parades during the year, but all bands will try to be booked by a lodge to
march on the Twelfth. Preparation for the Twelfth starts well before July.
The Secretary of the County Grand Lodge of Belfast will have a meeting the
previous August with the marshals of the parade to see if any problems arose
at the previous July demonstration. In November the Secretary will meet


Orange Parades

with District marshals to discuss the problems. In February the Twelfth

committee, made up of the District Master, Deputy District Master and
District Secretaries of all the Belfast Districts meet to make decisions on the
forthcoming Twelfth. Sometimes some of the rules need to be adjusted, for
instance, recently the rule that forbids members wearing insignia from
going into pubs was tightened to include private clubs. The speakers for
that years Twelfth platform also have to be arranged. Arrangements have
to be made for toilets, first aid and litter disposal at the field venue,
Edenderry. It is the job of the County Grand Secretary to coordinate all the
arrangements for the Belfast parade whereas in areas outside Belfast it
would more often fall to the Secretary of the District organising that years
main Twelfth parade. In Belfast the arrangements for the District to meet in
the morning, which often involves private lodges and their bands marching
to the District lodge, must also be done at a District level. As July approaches,
the Secretary of the Belfast County Grand Lodge will have prepared the route
maps and timings, the order of the day, the platform order, the hymns to be
sung at the platform, the letter to the Queen, permits to those traders who
will be at the field at Edenderry, official passes for lodges either taking a car
into the Field or erecting a marquee, and the list of bands arriving from
outside Northern Ireland.
The main concern of most private lodges will be to book a band for the
forthcoming events. Yet a significant number of lodges fail to get a band or
choose not to hire one. In 1996 there were about 130 lodges marching in
Belfast and only seventy-six bands. Often a lodge uses a band that it has
marched with for a number of years. Belfast lodges do not necessarily hire
Belfast bands. Some lodges may well have built up a relationship with a
particular country band. The band might well be Scottish with up to twenty
or thirty bands coming over from Scotland to march in the Belfast Twelfth
each year. Scottish bands planning to march need the permission of the
Orange Institution in Scotland, and the Orange Institution in Belfast also has
to be notified so that it, in turn, can notify the police of which bands are
coming over. If the County has not been notified, then the band will not be
allowed to parade. The same is true of the smaller number of bands that come
over from England. The band booked by a lodge for the Twelfth may well not
be the same band as that for the Districts mini-Twelfth. The monthly
newspaper produced by the Grand Lodge, the Orange Standard, contains
advertisements by lodges requiring bands for forthcoming events and by
bands that are looking for lodges to march with. Bands can be in short
supply, particularly so for the Twelfth. It is not unheard of for one lodge to
poach a band from another lodge. Due to lodge demand outstripping the
supply of bands, some of the fees paid to bands have risen. I believe the range
in Belfast is between 300 and 800, although prices up to 1,000 have
also been mentioned.
There have been forms of contractual agreement between lodges and
bands for a long time, but in 1986, after two summers of major disturbances

The Marching Season


at parades the Grand Lodge decided to introduce a specific band contract

(Bryan et al. 1995: 523). It is worth reproducing it in full:
Grand Lodge of Ireland
Clause 1. All bands shall come under the jurisdiction of the Private, District, or Grand
Lodge with whom they are parading and shall obey the Instructions of the Parade
Clause 2. No band shall have on parade a member of the Orange Institution who has
been suspended or expelled for any offence other than non-payment of dues. Neither
will a Band have on parade members or ex-members of a Band which has been
debarred from participating in parades by a District Lodge, County Grand Lodge, or
Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. A County Grand Lodge or its Band Committee shall
have the power to adjudicate on transferred ex-members of a debarred Band.
Clause 3. All members of a Band must maintain uniformity of dress to a standard
reflecting on the dignity and decorum of the Institution with whom they are on
Clause 4. Shouting in an unseemly manner for the emphasis of certain tunes is strictly
Clause 5. Bands will employ Regulation Step only while on parade. Double or Twin
Drumming, (i.e. two people beating one bass drum simultaneously) Dancing, or Jig
Time Step by any member of the Band is prohibited.
Clause 6. On the occasion of Church Parades (under all jurisdictions) RECOGNISABLE HYMN TUNES & SACRED MARCHING ARRANGEMENTS ONLY SHALL BE
Clause 7 Bands taking part in Church Parades must also attend the Church Service.
Clause 8. No bands will play any music or indulge in drumming in the field during
the public meeting at a Demonstration or Rally.
Clause 9. No intoxicating liquor shall be conveyed into a Demonstration Field under
the auspices of a band or its individual members. Under no circumstances should
liquor be consumed in the ranks while on parade, or taken aboard Coaches or other
Public Transport. (It is expected that lodges will lead by example).
Clause 10. Flags which may be carried by bands are approved at the discretion of
Parade Marshals, or the Senior Officers of a District Lodge under whose jurisdiction the
Parade is taking place.
Clause 11. The conditions of agreement will be applicable until revoked by either

The reasons for many of these rules, particularly clauses 3, 4 and 5 referring
to behaviour on the parade, clause 6 referring to alcohol and clause 10
referring to the flags, will become clear when I discuss the parades
themselves. It is significant, however, that the Grand Lodge introduced, and
has made some attempt to enforce, the conditions of engagement. These are
the rules of respectable Orangeism.
The most obvious feature that all the loyalist parades in Northern Ireland
have in common is musical accompaniment. Different forms of musical
accompaniment have played a role in parades organised by the Orange
Institution since 1795. In previous chapters I outlined the early role of the


Orange Parades

drumming parties, made up of a large drum and fife, the development of the
use of lambeg drums in Belfast, the consequent disapproval of the rougher
groups and the encouragement given to more respectable pipe and silver
bands, the role played by some of the rougher bands from Scotland and the
rough accordion bands in Belfast in the 1920s and 1930s, and the
development of blood and thunder bands in urban areas from the mid-1960s.
Especially since the 1880s there has been an ever present friction within the
parades between the orderliness of the respectable Orange parade and the
rougher, undisciplined, raucous, more overtly carnivalesque, yet
threatening performances, by the predominantly working-class bands.
Broadly speaking, there are five types of bands. The least common type is
the silver band. Silver bands require members to have considerable musical
ability, and the upkeep of such a band, particularly given the instruments
involved, is enormous. Some bands used to be connected to factories, but
with the decline in local industry such patronage is long gone. Many of the
remaining silver bands take part in major Irish and British competitions and
draw their membership from both Protestant and Catholic communities.
Orange lodges find it difficult to afford silver bands and, given the nature of
their instruments, they are less inclined to take part in the long trudge of a
Belfast parade. Silver bands can be found on country parades, particularly
Black parades in Counties Down, Armagh and Fermanagh, but they are now
a rarity in Belfast. More common are kilty or bagpipe bands. These are very
popular in Ireland and again take part in competitions all over the British
Isles. A little cheaper than a silver band, there are quite a lot of kilty bands
to be found in country parades and usually a few in the Belfast Twelfth,
although there were none in 1996.
The third type, that is more common still, is the accordion band. Earlier in
the century they had a reputation for being one of the more rebellious types
of band, but the accordion is not an instrument that lends itself to being
heard against the banging of a big drum. The accordion bands presently
found in parades have a high female membership and by their nature do not
evoke much of an animated atmosphere at parades. Their actions tend to be
less animated than the flute bands, the music is quieter, and they have fewer
followers walking alongside. There are one or two more boisterous accordion
bands still to be found which have been involved in a number of confrontations during the parade disputes.
By far the most common form of band is the flute band. Three types can be
distinguished. A full music flute band uses a five-key instrument and its
members may be able to sight-read music. Members of a melody or part
music band are slightly less skilled, use a simpler single-key flute but can,
nevertheless, play some harmonies. The blood and thunder or kick the
pope flute bands play a single-keyed flute and may well have members with
almost no musical knowledge whatsoever. Indeed, some members will not
know all of the tunes being played and on parade they periodically dummy
flute, that is, pretend to be playing, while others in the band actually play.

The Marching Season


The centrepiece of all of the above bands is usually a large bass drum and
some side drums, with flute bands tending to have a particularly large bass
drum. It is, in the main, melody and blood and thunder bands that take part
in band competitions and it is the blood and thunder bands that dominate.
With the notable exception of Bells (1990) examination of loyalist bands
within the context of youth culture in Londonderry, Jarmans (2000)
general look at the development of blood and thunder bands, and sections of
Jenkins (1983) examination of working-class youth in north Belfast, there
has been remarkably little research on such a vibrant cultural development.
Setting up a blood and thunder band is relatively cheap and easy. Often a
few members break away from another band and to begin with all that is
needed is a second-hand set of instruments, a rudimentary uniform and
somewhere to practice. Senior band members will be given charge of
teaching younger members at band practices. Splits in bands are not
uncommon and bands come in and out of existence as the number and compatibility of the membership dictate. Many bands develop quite a
sophisticated personnel structure with a band Master or Captain, a
secretary and treasurer, drum major who heads the band and a number of
marshals. These members plus others form a committee that makes decisions
for the band. Some bands draw up written rules that cover such matters as
failure to turn up at band practices, failure to attend band parades, poor
discipline in terms of punctuality, shouting in the ranks, disobeying a
marshals instructions on parade, excessive drinking, the inappropriate use
or loss of band uniforms and inappropriate use of band instruments. There
may well be a disciplinary committee that can impose fines or exclude a
member from the band if the infringement is serious enough. As the running
of the band begins to demand considerable organisational skills and control
of financial resources, authority and bureaucracy become inevitable. Yet
many of the bands are highly democratic, putting many decisions to the vote.
For instance, bands can be approached by paramilitary groups and asked if
they wish to carry their flag on parade. There may be some financial
inducement involved. With bands strapped for cash this sort of assistance
may be attractive over and above the support some members of the band
might have for that paramilitary group. The standards can be handed over
at a colours ceremony. Certain bands are born right out of the paramilitary
organisations and may even be used as a means of recruitment. However,
there are also blood and thunder bands that show a good deal of antipathy
towards paramilitary groups. I am aware of at least one band in Belfast
voting against carrying such a standard. It is therefore not easy to produce
a typical model for the politics of blood and thunder bands (Bell 1990:
11516). The one feature that nearly all of them have in common is their
social setting. They are nearly always based in working-class urban areas
or on housing estates in rural areas.
The blood and thunder band has been, without question, the most
distinctive development in loyalist political culture since the 1960s. Bell


Orange Parades

described their role in parades as youths attempting to breathe life into an

established tradition (Bell 1990: 1245). The bands with their own
regimental style, seem to mediate youthful style and traditional Loyalist
culture (Bell 1990:123). There are a number of characteristics that make
them quite visibly distinct from other bands, including the development of
distinctive uniform styles and the carrying of flags. In the 1970s most of them
appeared on the streets wearing simple V-neck jumpers, white shirts and
grey flannel trousers with perhaps a coloured cap. Some bands quickly
advanced to wearing blazers and further developing the uniforms. The name
of the band, along with a variety of loyalist symbols, were painted on the
drum. Names such as Defenders, True Blue, Volunteers, Young
Conquerors and Young Citizen Volunteers invoke a popular loyalist history
as well as a sense of being protectors of their community. Some of the names
and regalia make direct reference to loyalist paramilitary groups. This is particularly true of the UVF because that organisation itself claims inheritance
from the organisation formed out of Orange lodges in 1912. UDA insignia,
and the insignia of a particular military wing, the Ulster Freedom Fighters
(UFF), also appear on some band regalia. During the 1970s and through the
1980s more blood and thunder bands started carrying flags, prior to this
only lodges carried flags on parades. Through uniforms, through the display
of insignia on the bass drum and through the carrying of flags, blood and
thunder bands have imposed their own symbolic expressions on parades
organised by the loyal orders. Since many of the symbols are drawn from the
lexicon of loyalism and unionism, significant numbers of Orangemen are
supportive of these expressions, but the association of some of the bands and
their symbols with paramilitary groups is also highly problematic for
respectable Orangeism. Concern over blood and thunder bands, some of
the flags they have begun to carry, and their rowdy supporters are not
uncommon in the Orange Standard.2 Stricter rules have been introduced to
control the situation in the form of the band contract and an official list of
flags approved by the Grand Lodge for carrying on parade. Those officially
permitted flags are: the Union flag, the flags of the four countries comprising
the UK, the Cross of St Patrick, flags of overseas Orange jurisdictions, lodge
flags, banners and bannerettes, the Orange Standard, band flags and
bannerettes, and flags issued for approved anniversaries such as the Boyne
tercentenary. In spite of this attempt at regulation, UVF flags are commonly
carried by blood and thunder bands and I have seen both Red Hand
Commando (a wing of the UVF) and UDA and Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
flags carried during Orange parades. The carrying of UVF flags is legitimised
by some Orangemen by reference to the UVF of 1912 which went on to form
a large part of the 36th Ulster Division in the British army. Indeed, some of
the flags show battle honours from the First World War. However, the UVF
of 1912 was a paramilitary organisation preparing, if necessary, to fight the
state and was clearly quite separate from the 36th Ulster Division. The

The Marching Season


carrying of other flags, such as those of the Red Hand Commando and UDA,
is clearly against the rules of the Orange Institution.
I will discuss the blood and thunder bands further in the context of
describing the parades themselves, but it is important to stress a number of
points at this stage. Generally, bands have no direct connection to the Orange
Institution, although there are a few rural bands that are drawn directly
from an Orange lodge. The economics of parades are such that lodges cannot
afford to hire very expensive bands. While bands that do take part in the
parades accept that they have a contractual obligation to the lodge that hired
them, and therefore that they are technically under the authority of the
Institution during Orange parades, members of bands feel that they are as
much part of the Twelfth as the Orangemen. Some bands and band members
have a distinct political agenda of their own, linked as they are to loyalist
paramilitary organisations and therefore to their political parties the
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) and the Ulster Democratic Party (UDP).
Also, many bandsmen have clear ideas of what the Twelfth is all about, and
some of their ideas do not coincide with those of respectable Orangeism.
This is particularly revealed in their attitude to drink and their decorum
during parts of the event. The Conditions of Engagement codify some of the
rules and tie the bands closer to the parade authorities, making them
answerable to the lodge hiring them. The way these new restrictions were
introduced was criticised in the UDA magazine Combat and there were some
attempts to set up a permanent United Bands committee. As the UVFs
magazine Ulster put it, the bands are the backbone of any parade or rally.3
The same publications expressed quite a degree of disgust over some of the
Orange leadership and the contracts went on to cause a good deal of
controversy.4 In many ways it is the bands that put in the most preparation
for the Twelfth, they start practising for a new marching season in January.
They will be on all parades organised by all the loyal orders from Easter
onwards and attend band parades on many weekends. They are at least as
important to loyalist parading scene as the loyal orders.

The first physical sign that 12 July is approaching is the piles of wooden
pallets on spare bits of waste ground and street corners in Protestant
working-class areas. They will go to make the bonfires to burn at midnight
on the 11 July. Locals generally do the organising of such events, not the
loyal institutions, and it is younger children and teenagers that take the most
interest. There is competition between different areas, and different streets,
to make the best bonfire and it is quite common for material to be stolen from
one site, only to reappear at another, and also for a bonfire in preparation to
be mischievously, prematurely burnt. Accordingly, the local children will


Orange Parades

stand guard over their bonfire for weeks beforehand, even building shelters
in which to sleep overnight.
As well as the collection of wood for the bonfire, street decorations are
prepared in Protestant working-class areas, political murals are brushed up
or re-painted (Loftus 1990, 1994; Rolston 1991; Jarman 1992, 1993,
1997a), kerbstones, lamp-posts, bus-stops, bollards, and anything else that
might take a lick of paint, are painted red, white and blue, bunting is strung
between the houses on many streets and the Orange Standard, Union,
Northern Ireland, Scottish and other flags are placed outside houses. Many
houses in Protestant working-class area have metal fitments on the wall into
which a flagpole can be placed. As the Twelfth approaches, Orange Arches
go up in many areas. These are now usually metal constructions spanning
the road, and have numerous Orange and unionist symbols on them. Their
annual opening may well be combined with a mini-Twelfth and undertaken
by a senior Orangeman or unionist politician, who makes a speech.
Although there are very few arches now to be found in Belfast they are still
common in country areas (Loftus 1994; Jarman 1997a).
On the second or third Saturday in June, Carrickfergus District Lodge,
Antrim No. 10 District, hold a re-enactment of the landing of William at Carrickfergus harbour, about 12 miles outside Belfast. Orangemen, some dressed
as Williamite soldiers, parade with bands through the town to the harbour.
William of Orange enters the harbour in a small boat and is greeted by
Orangemen dressed as the dignitaries who were apparently present in 1690.
In 1993 some set-piece political speeches were made from a platform at the
harbour including some words from the then Grand Master, Reverend
Martin Smyth. The following year these formalities were dispensed with. At
the re-enactment there is a commentary reminding the audience of King
Billys achievements. William then mounts a white horse next to a statue
of the Prince of Orange, erected in 1990 for the tercentenary, and leads a
parade of the Williamite soldiers, local Orangemen and about half a dozen
bands, through the town. In 1994 William took so long to get going that one
irate bandsman shouted at the king Come on Billy weve got a pub to go to.

North Belfast
The following weekend in north Belfast there is a parade organised by
Districts 14 called the Tour of the North. This parade takes two different
routes on alternate years. One route takes in the more northern area of
Belfast around the Antrim Road, Tiger Bay and York Road, the other route
takes in a more northwest area encompassing the Crumlin Road and
Woodvale areas. Given the chequer-board like ethnic geography of north
Belfast (Doherty and Poole 1995), both parades inevitably go near or
through nationalist areas. In 1996 there were serious disturbances between
police and members of residents groups trying to halt the parade on the

The Marching Season


Antrim Road route (Jarman 1997b), and in 1998 the Parades Commission
re-routed the parade. On the Saturday there is also a small parade at Legoniel
in the north of the city.

West Belfast
The last weekend of June has a number of mini-Twelfths on the Friday and
Saturday and the Somme commemoration church parades on the Sunday.
The most significant mini-Twelfth for the Belfast area that weekend is the
Whiterock parade in west Belfast. This parade, possibly first held in the late
1950s, essentially links the small Whiterock Orange Hall on the Springfield
Road with the larger lodge on the Shankill used by No. 9 District. It has
regularly sparked disturbances and, since the late 1960s, has had its route
changed on a number of occasions. The area leading from the Shankill to
the Springfield Road is largely loyalist and has nearby areas of industrial
parks and wasteland. The parade used to take in a larger section of the
Springfield Road in the Falls area of Belfast, and, in spite of a number of routes
changes, it still crosses onto a section of the Springfield Road perceived as
nationalist. Relatively few houses are passed by the parade in a largely
industrial area but a community group opposed to the parade has demonstrated against it.
This parade is dominated by blood and thunder bands. In the 1996 parade
there were nineteen bands, all of which were flute bands and, at most, no
more than two were melody flute bands. A large amount of UVF regalia was
carried and worn. Old Boyne Island Heroes LOL 633 carried a bannerette
depicting a UVF man, and a large number of the bands carried UVF flags and
had bass drums painted with references to the UVF or Young Citizens
Volunteers (YCV), the youth wing of the UVF. Numerous young people
watched the parade, many of them drinking, and yet it is quite clearly a day
for the community with families and old people also out for the event. All the
Orangemen in the District No. 9 colour party were in suits and bowler hats.
The parade weaved through the streets around the Shankill, which were
bedecked in red, white and blue bunting and Union, Northern Ireland,
Scottish and Orange flags. Despite the intimidating appearance to an
outsider, it is difficult not to get caught up in the sounds, colours and
excitement. Some of the bands lay wreaths at the plaques and murals that
are in memory of those from loyalist paramilitary groups who have lost their
lives (Jarman 1993).
The tension rises as the Whiterock parade reaches Ainsworth Avenue,
from where it moves onto Workman Avenue. Since a high peace wall,
punctuated by gates, separates the Protestant and Catholic areas, it is quite
clear when the parade is moving into the Springfield Road area. In 1994 I
watched as the police allowed the parade through but stopped the spectators
from following. The parade went over to the other side of the peace wall and


Orange Parades

the crowd was left standing in front of the police. Bottles and stones were
thrown. There was a large explosion in the crowd and a full-scale riot
erupted, with the police firing baton rounds. It later transpired that a member
of the UVF had tried to throw a grenade at the police, but it went off in his
hand, killing him and injuring over a dozen others. There is now a memorial
plaque on the wall to the UVF man beside which flowers were placed during
the parades in 1995 and 1996. Because of the loyalist ceasefire late in 1994
and the increased political activity of those groups in the form of the PUP
and UDP, it was in their interests to be seen to be controlling the situation.
Members of the UVF on both the 1995 and 1996 parades acted to stop the
crowd getting near the police lines. Indeed, it is significant that it was
members of these organisations, not the Orange Institution, which was able
to control the crowd.

East Belfast
On the afternoon of the Sunday on or before 1 July, Orangemen attend
services to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. In particular the 36th
Ulster Division LOL 977 holds a service at the Ulster Hall in the centre of
Belfast to which many Districts parade. The routes of these smaller church
parades are unproblematic except in south Belfast, on the lower part of the
Ormeau Road, where residents of a predominantly nationalist area have
protested. This particular Somme commemoration church parade has been
banned since 1995.
On 1 July a number of Somme anniversary parades are held by the Orange
Institution around Northern Ireland. Probably the two longest-standing are
those in east Belfast, held by Ballymacarrett No. 6 District, and one in Sandy
Row, organised by Queen Victoria Temperance LOL 760. Both of these
parades not only involve the respective Districts but also attract Orangemen
and bands from other areas and draw a significant number of spectators. The
Ballymacarrett parade in east Belfast has a distinctive friendly and relaxed
atmosphere. Many who have moved away from east Belfast make sure they
return for this occasion. A number of Orangemen suggested to me that they
prefer this day to the Twelfth. Members of the District are quick to point out
that this is not a mini-Twelfth parade, such as many other Orange Districts
hold around these weeks, but the Somme anniversary parade. They go up
to lay a wreath at a small memorial set into the wall at the bottom of the
Belmont Road, but the circular route takes them on a 34 mile circuit of east
Belfast. East Belfast only has a small Catholic area, called the Short Strand,
which the parade passes a dual carriageways width away from at its start.
In that regard this parade does not manifest quite the same tensions that
might be found on parades in north or west Belfast. Nevertheless, a large
number of police are required to fill the space between the road and the
houses of the Short Strand, and, in 1996, with tensions over parades

The Marching Season


running high, I watched as some shouting was exchanged between

spectators and youngsters on the Short Strand.
At the east Belfast parades I have witnessed in 1993, 1994 and 1996 the
spectators at the side of the road were most numerous in the more workingclass areas around Ballymacarrett and the Ravenhill Road but thinned in
the more middle-class areas. The laying of the wreath took place towards the
end of the parades with the main body of the procession halting while the
colour party surrounded the plaque and a small service was held. As so often
happens at Orange events around war memorials, bands and spectators
caught up in the excitement of the parades seemed oblivious to the more
sombre moments. Nearby bands keep playing away, and, at one point in
1994, a couple of men carrying blue plastic bags of beer staggered right
through the ceremony. A few yards down from the plaque, on the other side
of the Belmont Road, is the Stormont Inn where crowds gather, with women
providing much of the singing and dancing. As the parades restarted the
blood and thunder bands received an especially warm welcome, the local
bands getting the biggest cheers of all. The women on the street corner and
the men in the band perform for each other, encouraging the music and the
singing to get louder. The parades continued back down to the District hall
where the colour party and District officers line the side of the road for a
march past. These events, as with all Orange parades, were concluded with
the playing of the British national anthem.
Looking from the war memorial to the Stormont Inn a few yards away,
one sees many of the apparent contradictions within Orange parades. They
seem to be both a religious, sombre, commemorative ceremony and a
secular, drunken, carnival at one and the same time. When passing the
nationalist area of the Short Strand, some of whose residents would view the
parade as threatening, the parade is flanked by dozens of armoured RUC
Land Rovers and the atmosphere feels tense. When passing through the
streets of east Belfast, with old friends and family members meeting each
other, the atmosphere is welcoming. Bands mix sectarian tunes with
numerous popular songs, and their young female supporters, in short skirts
and high heels, mix sexual innuendo with sectarian chants.

South Belfast
The two Districts that encompass the area of south Belfast are Sandy Row
No. 5 District and Ballynafeigh No. 10 District. Sandy Row is a large District
with over thirty lodges, taking in the loyalist working-class areas of Donegall
Pass, Sandy Row, the Village and Windsor Park, although much of south
Belfast is middle class and affected by a transitory university population.
No. 5 District holds a large Somme anniversary parade on the same day as
that of east Belfast.


Orange Parades

On the other hand, Ballynafeigh No. 10 District, which is centred at the top
of the Ormeau Road, has only seven lodges and is an area with a less
working-class population. Indeed, the area of Ballynafeigh itself probably
has a higher proportion of Catholics than Protestants and is mixed (Hanlon
1994; Doherty and Poole 1995). Nevertheless, over the past few years the
public profile of this District has changed dramatically. In February 1992
five people were murdered by the UFF in a bookmakers shop in the lower
part of the Ormeau Road below the bridge. Shortly afterwards the Lower
Ormeau Concerned Community (LOCC) started a campaign to have parades
by the loyal orders re-routed away from the lower Ormeau Road, which has
a largely nationalist community along part of it, and a transient student
population along another. The campaign received national prominence
when, during the mini-Twelfth of 1992, some bandsmen and Orangemen
waved five fingers (indicating the five dead) at those residents protesting by
the side of the road. Northern Ireland Secretary, Sir Patrick Mayhew, stated
that the behaviour would have disgraced a tribe of cannibals.5 Consequently, although the District continued to have other parades down the
road they agreed under some pressure to take the mini-Twelfth on a route
that did not involve crossing the Ormeau Bridge onto the lower part of the
Ormeau Road. This decision was unpopular with other Orange Districts,
some of whom refused to join the 1993 mini-Twelfth. Since 1995 the police
have blocked all Orange Institution parades other than the Twelfth. The
Twelfth was voluntarily re-routed by the Orange Order in 1997, and rerouted by the Parades Commission in 1999. In 1995, as the mini-Twelfth
parade reached the junction at the Ormeau Bridge, some bandsmen and
spectators clashed with the RUC blocking the bridge. The following year, it
appeared to me that the bridge was marshalled better by the Institution and
the parade maintained great discipline, despite efforts by loyalist spectators
to encourage a confrontation. Therefore, since 1992 the parades organised
by this small Orange District have not only become a focus for political
discussions within Northern Ireland but also have received the attentions of
the world press (Jarman and Bryan 1996).


The Sunday afternoon before the Twelfth, or 12 July if it falls on a Sunday,
all Orange Districts have Boyne commemoration services that involve a
parade from the lodge hall to a church and a return parade. The service may
circulate between a number of different Protestant churches in an area over
a number of years, or it may visit one specific church as with the Portadown
Drumcree parade (Bryan et al. 1995). Although these parades are small scale
and usually involve hiring a couple of accordion bands to play hymns,
sometimes blood and thunder bands are hired. The band is expected to join
the lodge in the church service but this does not always happen. It must also

The Marching Season


be noted that the numbers in a District that take part in a religious parade
and attend a church service do not usually compare well with the numbers
that turn out for the Twelfth parade itself.
While clearly the Boyne anniversary service is an occasion when the
religious aspects of Orangeism are highlighted, sermons often have a more
overtly political content. The Orange Institution, of course, has many
ministers as chaplains, but there is nevertheless a tension between the liberal,
more ecumenical, wings of the Anglican, Presbyterian and Methodist
churches and Orangeism. This has become more acute in recent years as the
parade disputes, particularly at Drumcree, have engaged members of all
three churches north and south of the border. It is not unheard of for church
ministers to refuse to take an Orange church service, or even for members
of the church to refuse to give permission for the use of their church, but in
general the use of churches by the Orange Institution is not problematic. It
is my impression that church authorities ignore these tensions for fear of the
divisions they might cause.


Loyalist parading culture in Northern Ireland is about much more than just
the Twelfth. There is a whole complex of events before and after which reflect
the diversities within unionism and the particularities of local identity. I have
concentrated on Belfast where preparations are quite different from many
rural areas, but even within Belfast there are distinct localities with their
own parading traditions expressing particular senses of identity. This sense
of local identity has been most vividly articulated by the work of Holloway
on the loyalist Donegall Pass area, at the city centre end of the Ormeau Road,
in south Belfast. He argues that it is wrong to overestimate the strength of the
relationship of the population of the Donegall Pass area to the neighbouring
loyalist area of Sandy Row.
It may be possible to cross to Protestant Sandy Row in seconds but Shaftesbury Square
marks a deep gulf between these communities. Neighbours are not united in their
Protestantism but divided by strong tribal loyalties based on shared experience within
defined territories. The Pass, Sandy Row, the Village, all Protestant communities
neighbouring each other, define their relations in terms of rivalry. They fight each
other at school; their bands clash in the marching season, they are expelled from city
clubs for the same mutual aggression. Cooperation is only likely in a fight against
Catholics. (Holloway 1994: 9)

Even if quite such strong feelings of locality are not repeated in other parts of
Belfast, my own experience when talking to Orangemen and bandsmen
about the parades is also of a sense of local identity. Their local parades are
of special importance to them and each parade is believed to have its own
atmosphere and peculiarities. As will be seen with the Twelfth, parades that


Orange Parades

bring areas together nevertheless serve to point up the differences in locality.

One Orange lodge is not exactly like another, one Orange District is not
completely like another and one Orange parade is not totally like another. It
is understandable that to outsiders, particularly those in the Catholic,
nationalist community, all parades are just Orange parades; but in
attempting to understand the parades it is important to be aware of the local
character of specific events, and the local and internal politics that influence
the control and development of those events.


Despite the construction of a discourse around tradition and the

unchanging, familiar, nature of the parades, all are unique social events
allowing a degree of creativity from the participants. My generalised
description of the Twelfth in this chapter will provide an understanding of the
event itself its apparent contradictions, its nuances, its moments of conflict
and, above all, its political dynamics. I will contrast an understanding of the
Twelfth as traditional and respectable with some of the contemporary and
carnivalesque developments in the parades. The Twelfth of July is a public
holiday in Northern Ireland. Many people, Catholics and Protestants, who
do not want to take part in the events, or indeed want to avoid them, take the
opportunity and leave Northern Ireland for holiday elsewhere. County
Donegal, for instance, is inundated with visitors from across the border.
Orangemen sometimes claim that the Twelfth is good for tourism; ironically,
the tourist board in County Donegal would probably agree.


For the participants the Twelfth requires great stamina. For many, it starts
early on the evening before, the focus being the Eleventh night bonfire. In
some country areas local Orange lodges have more organised Eleventh night
festivities, but young lads in the area prepare most of the Belfast bonfires. By
any standards some of the bonfires are huge. The bulk of the construction is
made from wooden transport pallets liberally interlaced with tyres, the size
of the bonfire depending to a large extent upon the area in which it is built.
Sandy Row, for instance, has a reputation for having one of the biggest
bonfires although there are a number of smaller fires around the same area.
Prior to the Eleventh night a Union flag or a Northern Ireland flag may well
sit on top. As the evening progresses the local bars fill up, barbecues are lit,
and impromptu street parties begin. The atmosphere in my experience is
relaxed and friendly. Some people might return to bonfires in areas they lived
in as children. Parents park their cars and take their kids to see the fire. Local
fish and chip shops do a particularly good trade and in some areas the local
band will parade, providing entertainment. A disco may also be set up near


Orange Parades

a large bonfire. As midnight approaches the crowd gravitates towards the

largest fire. It is not uncommon for smaller local fires to be burnt first so that
people can move to the large fire. People move from one bonfire to the next,
many carrying their tins of beer or bottles of cider in the blue plastic bags
that so many of the local off licences in Belfast use. Young teenagers are particularly in evidence. The girls wear the latest fashions that so often seem to
be quite unsuitable for walking around on what may well be a cool and wet
Belfast night. Most of the lads wear various types of sports gear, almost
inevitably connected to Glasgow Rangers Football Club in some way. And
in the infamous areas like Sandy Row one or two camera crews wander
about getting their shots for tomorrows news or their next documentary on
Northern Ireland.
Part of the significance of the event is in what is burnt (Kertzer 1988:
122). At some point during the evening someone scales the bonfire to take
down the Union flag, and replaces it with the symbol to be burnt. In the last
century it could well have been an effigy of the Pope, OConnell, the traitor
Lundy or even a local unpopular magistrate, but in recent years one item
above all goes to the flame the Irish Tricolour. That is not to say that the
Pope or a Papal flag is never seen, and Lundy is certainly burnt on 1 July in
Portadown and in Derry in August, but the Tricolour is by far the most
popular target. At midnight the bonfire is lit. On a wet night, large amounts
of flammable liquid need to be applied to the foot of the fire to ensure
successful combustion. Often it takes 10 or 15 minutes before the fire really
takes hold, but when it does the heat is incredible, and the crowds
surrounding the fire back away. Excitement rises as the flames climb the
construction. The biggest cheer goes up as the Tricolour bursts into flames
and is quickly reduced to a charred flagpole and then to cinders. As the
flames become more intense anything within 50 or 60 yards or so is in
danger. Advertising hoardings start to peel, telegraph poles catch fire and
in some cases nearby properties are quite clearly at some risk. The larger
bonfires often come crashing down after burning for 20 minutes or so,
scattering the crowd. The fire brigade will spend most of the night rushing
from bonfire to bonfire. The atmosphere smells of burning rubber, the air
above Belfast becomes thick with smoke and the clouds are tinted orange.
After about half an hour the families that have come by car head away and
leave the locals and the teenagers to the disco. The revelry continues into
the not so small hours of the morning.

The days events start early despite the late celebrations of the night before.
The sound of flute bands can be heard around Belfast well before eight
oclock. The roads around the city have few cars on them and on the Lisburn
Road, along which the main commemorative parade travels, people will

The Twelfth


already be setting out their garden chairs to get the best spot on the route.
Stalls are erected on the route and are soon selling Union or Northern Ireland
flags, red, white and blue hats or plastic marching batons for the kids to play
with. The vans that sell burgers and chips also position themselves. Tables
are set up outside some of the churches along the route to sell tea and
sandwiches to the passers by. Policemen organise parking restrictions and
contractors deliver crowd-control barriers for certain parts of the route.
More than one Orangeman has described to me the expectation and
excitement they feel before the Twelfth as being greater than before
Christmas. The Twelfth Committee does most of the organising for the day
in Belfast, but the bulk of the responsibility falls upon the County Grand
Secretary. He starts very early in the morning. Two limousines are booked,
one which picks up the Secretary as well as refreshments for guests, and the
other which picks up the County Grand Master, County Grand Chaplain and
County Grand Secretary. There is also a taxi organised for the elderly
marshals who work at the pedestrian crossing points on the parade route. A
wreath is also arranged to be laid at the cenotaph. The District Officers and
the lodges that use Clifton Street Orange Hall all meet at the hall. Some of
the lodges and bands might make a small parade to the hall, starting from the
lodge Masters house if that is convenient.
At District halls in other parts of the city, preparations are also being made.
At Sandy Row, lodges from No. 5 District and their bands march to the hall
and prepare to form up to parade up to the Clifton Street Orange hall to join
the main parade. The same goes for the District meeting on the Shankill.
Districts No. 6, No. 9 and No. 10 at Ballymacarrett Orange hall, West Belfast
Orange hall and Ballynafeigh Orange hall prepare to march to two points
near the centre of the city where they will take their place in the main parade
as it comes through. In all areas there is a well-used routine for preparing to
march. Permission for each of these parades must be applied for by
submitting an 11/1 form to the police.
In Ballymacarrett, when bands and lodges arrive they form up in the side
streets off Templemore Avenue. Each lodge has its banner unfurled, some
leaning up against the wall as the lodge awaits its turn to join the feeder
parade. Some banners have black ribbons attached indicating a recent death
in the lodge and many have bunches of Orange lilies hanging from the
banner poles. In 1993 the words No Dublin Interference hung from the top
of some banners. Certain lodge members will take it in turn to carry the
banner and some young lads might well be paid to hold the rope that keeps
the banner steady. On a windy day carrying the banner can be difficult and
a few lodges, with insufficient young men, have resorted to attaching it to
the back of a car.
Most Orangemen are in suits with their collarettes displaying their lodge
number and any present and past position they have held within the
Institution (e.g. PDM = Past District Master). Some collarettes are plain, but
others display a variety of badges. The lodge Secretary and lodge Master will


Orange Parades

check that the band knows what is expected. The wearing of bowler hats
and white gloves is not quite as common as the stereotype of Orangemen,
found in the newspapers, might lead one to believe, but most officials are
attired in that way and some lodges are particularly smart. Often Orangemen
carry umbrellas.
Each lodge has a couple of Marshals who should have received instructions from the District Marshals who have in turn received instructions from
the County Marshals at a meeting the previous month. At the front of the
lodge the banner is held, followed by lodge officials if they wish to go towards
the front. Quite a number of lodges carry flags such as the Union flag or the
Orange standard. Also towards the front of the lodge, flanking the colour
party, are the Tylors who carry symbolic weapons, usually a sword or
pike. I put symbolic in inverted commas since there have been odd occasions
when these weapons have become something less than ornamental. I have
spoken to one policeman who was attacked by one of the symbolic swords
during an incident in the early 1970s.
There are no rigid rules as to what order the elements of the parade march
in but generally the band is first, then the banner, officials and flags, flanked
by sword-carriers, then usually two, sometimes three, files of Orangemen
with pike-bearers to the rear. The two files are little more than the width of
the banner apart, taking up about half the width of the road. Alternatively
some lodges have the banner taking the lead followed by the band and then
lodge members, and I have also seen the band to the rear of the lodge. Some
lodges, short on numbers, can appear rather pitiful groups, but others, with
a large number of members smartly dressed and walking in good files,
certainly give a military impression. If really elderly brethren need to be
transported, then a car drives with the lodge. The car number plate is usually
blotted out and replaced by the lodge number for security reasons.
The feeder parade from east Belfast must have enough time to get to
Donegall Street to join the main parade. Sometime around 9.30, the District
officers, headed by the District bannerette with No. 6 and a crown and open
Bible depicted on it, form up in Templemore Avenue and head down the
Newtownards Road and into town. Each lodge and band follows on in turn.
By now the crowds in east Belfast will be three and four deep on the side of
the road. Some of the local bands receive particularly popular attention from
spectators. The Gertrude Star Flute band are a large blood and thunder band
that come from around the lower end of the Newtownards Road and were
formed in the early 1960s. As with so many of the flute bands they have a
large following, mainly of teenage girls dressed up as if for a party, who will
stay with them for the whole day.
All the lodges from the Clifton Street hall, plus Sandy Row and Shankill
Districts, form up in the streets beside the Crumlin Road above Carlisle Circus.
The order in which the Districts will march is taken on rotation. Up until
1960 No. 1 District went first down through to No. 10. From 1960, whilst
different Districts took turns to be the lead District, the following District was

The Twelfth


always No. 1, then No. 2 and so on. This meant that except when it led the
parade, No. 10 District was always last. This changed in 1972 when it
started in rotation so that if No. 9 led, No. 10 would follow then No. 1 down
to No. 8, who would in turn lead the parade the following year. Every lodge
had a turn at the back. This change apparently took place because some of
the lodges consistently were getting home late and this worried them in the
deteriorating security situation of the early 1970s.
The honour of leading the parade is taken with competitive banter, the
annual Twelfth Programme containing reasons why that years District
deserves to be out in front. District No. 4 might claim to be the leading
District, or No. 1 District the premier and democratic District, while No.
10 might conclude that the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.
Sandy Row District, the pride of Belfast, and Ballymacarrett District, the
wise men from the east, are particularly competitive.1 Each year a different
lodge from the leading District takes its turn to be the first lodge on parade.
The main parade leaves Carlisle Circus at 10.00 a.m. Officially, it is under
the direction of the Chief County Grand Marshal, and two County Grand
Marshals, with the District Marshals two or three to a District being
answerable to them. On at least one occasion walkie-talkies have been used
to keep the Marshals in touch with one another, but given the length of the
parade, this apparently became impractical. Orangemen frown upon large
gaps in the parade, and Marshals attempt to ensure that this does not
happen. There are also designated crossing points along the route at which
elderly Marshals are in attendance. While this may seem unnecessary since
there often obvious gaps between one lodge and the next it is actually an
issue that is treated as one of some importance. Since the parade could take
over an hour and a half to pass one point it causes significant inconvenience
for passers-by as well as spectators. Perhaps understandably, anyone moving
through the ranks of a lodge or band would be stopped. Attempts by
spectators or passers-by to cross without permission often cause problems. At
almost every large parade I have ever watched I have seen at least one
incident of a pedestrian attempting to get across the road and being
manhandled, often roughly, back to the side of the road he or she started
from. If one asks senior Orangemen about this behaviour they will always
tell you that sometimes their members overreact a little and that people are
worried about the security of the parade. It is true that if a spectator or
pedestrian approaches a Marshal or any Orangeman and asks permission,
they will usually be shown across, but the number of times I have seen an
apparent overreaction does seem significant. It seems to reflect a strong
attempt on the part of members of the parade to control the physical integrity
of the event. I will discuss some of the ways this integrity later breaks down,
but certainly during the first half of the day there is a more military bearing
to the parade.
In front of the official Orange parade is always a Christian group carrying
their own simple Jesus Saves type banners. Preachers with megaphones


Orange Parades

proclaim the good news and on occasions I have heard them warning of
the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Leaflets explaining how
one might be saved are handed out through the crowd. They are not
officially part of the parade, but, as long as they keep their distance up front,
no one seems to object. In both 1995 and 1996 the loyalist political parties,
the PUP and UDP, also organised demonstrations that marched in front of
the main parade calling for the release of loyalist prisoners. Members walked
with banners stretched across the road, to a mute reception from the crowd
in some areas but, not surprisingly, they received a better reception around
Sandy Row.
At the front of the Belfast Twelfth parade are the Burdge Memorial
Standards, a colour party comprising the Union flag in the centre with the
Belfast County Orange Standard to the right and a Belfast County Purple flag
to the left. The colour party is followed by the first band, often the Millar
Memorial melody flute band, then the County bannerette, County officers,
guests, limousines, and some boys from the Junior Orange Order with the
national flags of the nations with Orange Associations, except the Republic
of Ireland. Then follows the lead District, with its colour party, band and first
lodge. Which lodge takes the lead is sometimes decided by which lodge has
the best band. In recent years some women from the Association of Loyal
Orange Women of Ireland have also taken part in the parade. This seems to
have started in Belfast in 1990 although I have been led to believe that it
always happened in some country areas. Scotland is also well represented,
not only in the form of the many Scottish flags carried, but by up to twenty
Scottish bands that make the trip over. Scottish bands have a reputation for
being boisterous and are sometimes blamed for introducing the more rowdy
elements to the Twelfth. The front of the parade may be nearly a couple of
miles down the road before the end of the parade starts to walk. Despite
claims throughout the local press that there were 250 lodges and 150 bands
in 1996, I estimated between 130 and 150 lodges and there were exactly
76 bands. Nevertheless it is still an impressive event.
The parade moves down Clifton Street where there are very few spectators.
The area to the right is Unity Flats and is the only predominantly Catholic
area which the main parade passes. The army usually erects some large
screens across a couple of side streets and security is heavier than in other
parts of the parade. The parade moves onto Donegall Street and then right
into Royal Avenue and Donegall Place, the commercial heart of Belfast.
No. 6 District, having marched from the east of the city, waits at the junction
of Donegall Street and Royal Avenue and joins the parade at its allotted
position, and District No. 9, from the Shankill joins at the junction of Peters
Hill and Royal Avenue.
The centre of Belfast is packed with spectators and there is a sense in which
the Institution is displaying itself to the City of Belfast by going through the
centre (cf. Kertzer 1988: 120). All good vantage points are taken, with people
standing on benches, on waste bins and lamp-posts, and on top of telephone

The Twelfth


kiosks. Red, white and blue are the predominant colours worn with patriotic
hats, t-shirts, and umbrellas bearing the Union Jack in abundance. The
football shirts of Glasgow Rangers and local clubs, Linfield and Glentoran,
are also commonplace. Each lodge gets applauded through and each is
cheered, particularly if its bands rendition of popular parading tunes such
as The Sash are played with the utmost vigour. Already there will be groups
of teenagers gathering with their blue plastic bags full of varieties of cheap
alcohol. The pavement really gets clogged as the groups of youngsters,
singing and dancing, follow particular bands. A few of the bands supporters
push prams and have young children with them.
The parade turns right at the City Hall and is joined by District No. 10 who
have proceeded via the Ormeau Road. The parade turns down the west side
of the City Hall past and stops at the Cenotaph for a wreath-laying ceremony.
This ritual element was apparently only introduced in 1990. The colour
party, County officers and the Millar Memorial Band go into the Cenotaph
area and wreaths are laid by the County Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master
and Secretary. As part of the ceremony, all flags except the Union flag are
usually lowered. Similarly, when the parade proceeds all flags being carried
by lodges and bandsmen alike should be lowered as they pass the area and
eyes turn left towards the monument. In spite of the importance of war
memorials, some bands seem so involved in the parade that they do not
notice where they are and continue playing regardless.
The parade then heads on its way south towards middle-class Belfast. It
goes down Bedford Street along the Dublin Road, past the Grand Lodge head
office The House of Orange, through Shaftesbury Square, Bradbury Place
and onto the Lisburn Road. Since William of Orange presumably also headed
south out of the city on his journey to the Boyne the parade can be
understood as retracing the steps of the Williamite army. The 1996 Twelfth
Programme informs us that he came up Sandy Row and went onto the
Malone Ridge, and there is a plaque on a wall at the bottom of the Lisburn
Road to commemorate his journey.

Much of what I have so far discussed gives the Twelfth the appearance of a
military event. Its participants wear forms of uniform, the suits and
collarettes of Orangemen and the colourful uniforms of the bands. The
bandsmen and some of the Orangemen effectively march, whilst most of
the Orangemen walk in columns with a formalised step. It is a broadly maledominated arena, the event controlled by a hierarchy of officials marked by
insignia. The columns of men are started and stopped with the shout of
military-style commands and much of the musical accompaniment is overtly
military. In addition they carry flags of obvious military significance and
bannerettes that refer directly to battles fought in the First World War by the


Orange Parades

36th Ulster Division. Some bands carry colours which have been presented
to them, the lodges carry banners showing the Boyne or the Somme. For
many Orangemen the Twelfth should be a respectable march the event
expresses an idea of Christian Soldiers, of Protestants proclaiming their faith
in public. Ministers walk with lodges. Bibles are sometimes carried and many
District bannerettes and some lodge banners show the crown above the open
Bible, and religious and biblical scenes. Some lodges express their religious
heritage by being named after local churches, pictured on the banner,
declaring that they are Total Abstinence or Temperance lodges. Some of
the bands will play hymns. The parade is comparable to the parades of former
soldiers on Remembrance Sunday.
At the same time there is much about the Twelfth which appears to
contradict all this. Together with the military, religious, parade, it is also carnivalesque. As the day wears on alcohol becomes more and more evident,
but even early on many of the young girls following the bands are drinking.
On the occasions along the route when the parade comes to a halt to allow
for refreshment, some of it will be in the form of beer. Around the junction of
Sandy Row and the Lisburn Road huge crowds collect all day drinking,
singing and dancing, encouraging the blood and thunder bands that pass,
particularly the south Belfast bands. Many of the bands play up to it; they
often have young lads up front, twirling batons high into the air and
attempting to catch them again, dancing up the road, some of them doing
cartwheels as they go. Particular bands pride themselves on their athleticism.
After the front row of side drummers comes the big bass drum, the
centrepiece of the band and it is likely to be one of these drummers from a
blood and thunder band that catches the attention of a first-time viewer of
the Twelfth. They are often large men who hit the drum with tremendous
force, their vigour becoming greater when they are at a part of the parade
where the crowds are largest and most excited. Occasionally the bass
drummer will bang the drum so hard and so long that his hands will start
bleeding; and such a drummer will not simply walk up the road, but will
weave a pattern across the road, swaying both body and drum from side to
side. He seems to dictate the mood of that part of the parade. Indeed, such
are the exertions of a bass drummer that most bands have a spare member
walking alongside waiting to take his turn. Bell has suggested that this
behaviour, for many young lads, becomes a marker of masculinity at a time
when high unemployment and low-skilled work have reduced the ability of
males to assert themselves.
Those who have witnessed the finely-honed skills and risk-taking routines of the drum
majors of the marching bands . . . can be in no doubt that the marching bands provide
such a peer-group milieu for the parading of skill. (Bell 1990: 105)

Sometimes all of the band weave or zig-zag up the road in time to the music,
and the girls dressed in short skirts and skimpy tops will dance along the

The Twelfth


pavement. Zig-zagging with them may well be the lodge with the banner
moving from side to side up the road.
The Sash is always the most popular tune, but the bands invariably break
from the more traditional Orange tunes into a popular song or a sectarian
chant. At the start of one particular tune a band might shout out UDA or
YCV or sing a rendition of The Billy Boys: were up to our necks in Fenian
blood, surrender or youll die, cause we are the Billy, Billy, Boys. A band
may gain particular appreciation if it has mastered a tune that is out of the
ordinary. I have heard one band give a rendition of Simon and Garfunkels
Bridge over Troubled Waters.
The rise of the blood and thunder band was noted in the Twelfth
Programme of 1977.
The phenomenon of the Twelfth in recent years must surely be the blood and thunder
bands and whether you like or dislike their music or deportment there is no denying
they have become an ever-increasing breed in Ulster today.
Noisy, arrogant and untuneful are terms used to describe these bands. The criticism
often comes from members of the more orthodox of Ulster bands and from some
Orangemen, who feel the raucous antics and unbridled enthusiasm of the young
bandsmen lowers the tone of an Orange parade.
But for many other Orangemen and loyalists there is nothing quite like the
drumming, fluting, and toe-in style marching of the groups of Young Defenders or
True Blues, clad in multi-coloured woolen jerseys and bonnets.2

In 1977 Billy Kennedy claimed that this style of Billy Boy band made up
half the bands in the parade (Twelfth Programme 1977). That proportion is
now much higher, perhaps 75 per cent, and, given the reduced number of
Orangemen, the bands almost appear to dominate the event. Consequently,
just as a hundred years ago the drumming parties caused frictions within
the parades, the blood and thunder bands, although apparently popular with
many of the spectators, have become an element within the ritual that
Orange officials have found hard to control.
Concern about the role of these bands on the parading scene has been
expressed frequently in the Orange Standard3 but also, more worryingly for
the Institution, by the RUC. The introduction of the Conditions of Engagement,
discussed above, which all lodges need to get their bands to sign, came after
major civil disturbances in Portadown during 1985 and 1986 at which the
ability of the Institution to control events was severely questioned (Bryan et
al. 1995). Clause 3 demands a uniformity of dress, reflecting the dignity and
decorum of the Institution. While some of the uniforms are smarter and
more sterling than the suits worn by Orangemen, the return journey on the
Twelfth can produce some original adaptations in the form of fancy dress.
Clause 4 states that shouting in an unseemly manner for the emphasis of
certain tunes is strictly forbidden. Clause 5 demands that bands employ
Regulation Step only while on parade and that Double or Twin Drumming
(i.e. two people beating on one bass drum simultaneously) dancing, or jig


Orange Parades

time step by any member of the band is prohibited. While I have not seen
the Twin Drumming, all the other behaviour mentioned is easily
observable. Indeed, the dancing or jig time step is not only part of the blood
and thunder routine but is utilised by some of the lodges as they zig-zag up
the road. This is despite rules laid out by the Belfast County Grand Lodge that
Lodges and bands must carry their banners or flags on the 12th July, 1990
(as on all other occasions) in a dignified and steady manner, and that disciplinary action will be taken against any lodge or band violating this rule.
Clause 10 of the Conditions of Engagement attempts to control the types of
flags carried by the bands. As discussed in the previous chapter this has again
been a subject of some internal debate within the Institution. Clearly the
carrying of the Union flag, the Northern Ireland flag, and Scottish flags is
not at issue, however, there are other flags which are more problematic. It
is common for blood and thunder bands to carry UVF flags during the
Twelfth parade. The UVF of 1912 is clearly part of an Orange heritage and
as such most Orangeman do not question the carrying of this flag. Nevertheless, given the activities of the UVF circa 1966 and the Orange
Institutions stated opposition to loyalist paramilitary groups, some
Orangemen are ill at ease with the presence of these flags. The bands seemed
to start carrying these flags in the mid-1970s. I have never noted a lodge
carrying such a flag and my understanding is that strictly speaking they
should not be carried in the parade at all. Nevertheless, the Rules of
Engagement state that flags carried by bands are approved at the discretion
of Parade Marshals and it would be likely to cause uproar if a Marshal asked
for a UVF flag to be removed. There are other flags that more clearly flout
the rules that have appeared on the Twelfth at Belfast. Whilst the carrying
of Red Hand Commando or UDA/UFF flags is not nearly as common, there
have been at least one or two examples each year in Belfast during the
1990s. Whilst these more blatant violations of the Conditions of Engagement
are relatively uncommon, nevertheless, everyone understands the nature
of these symbolic displays. It is not as if the lodge hiring the band lets it
happen as an oversight. Either the lodges and parade organisers are
unwilling or unable to act on such infringements.
The parade stops at a number of points to allow participants to rest and
take refreshments and perhaps have a smoke. One of the stranger rules that
the Belfast County has is that participants are not allowed to smoke in the
ranks before the Fire Station at Cadogan Park on the Lisburn Road. The rest
also provides time for individuals to relieve themselves wherever they can
find a convenient spot. The image of Orangemen and bandsmen pissing up
against a wall or in someones garden is often used by sections of the press
and by those that dislike the parades to criticise the events.
The Lisburn Road, and Balmoral Avenue, into which the parade turns,
are middle-class areas and, although in some areas the crowds will be three
or four deep, there is less of a rowdy atmosphere than nearer the centre of
the city. But the youngsters following their bands maintain the party

The Twelfth


atmosphere all the way. The parade turns right into Malone Road and then
left down towards Shaws Bridge. Approaching Shaws Bridge the road is
wide with some grassy banks on either side being ideal for spectators from
out of town to watch from. After crossing the bridge, the parade turns right
and continues for half a mile along a narrow county road to the large field at
Edenderry. At this point the parade tends to become a little chaotic.
Overhanging trees and narrow lanes would make negotiating the route
difficult at the best of times, but many of the lodges and bands have booked
their lunches at hotels or church halls around the Belfast area. Buses waiting
to transport them line up on the main road where the parade turns in. All
lodges and bands are supposed to go into the field before leaving to go to their
bus, even though some can be seen leaving the parade at Shaws Bridge. So
whilst the parade and the bands supporters are still heading up the lane,
many who have reached the field are busy rushing back to Shaws Bridge.

The Twelfth parades at all venues in Northern Ireland end up at a Field. Since
1972, except in 1999, the Belfast County Grand Lodge have used the field at
Edenderry, over 5 miles from their Clifton Street hall, which was specially
purchased for this purpose. Each of the Districts marches out to their allotted
spot on the Field, marked by a signpost. In one corner of the field is a raised,
covered, platform from which the service will be held and speeches will be
made. Tired marchers, if they are not leaving for their lunch, sit down in
groups to a picnic or buy a burger from the range of catering stalls around
the Field. But as well as stalls selling food, there are ones displaying a range
of Orange and loyalist products: King William tea towels and Orange
marmalade, tapes made by the bands, and pictures of Charles and Di dressed
in Glasgow Rangers shirts. A couple of the stalls also sell paramilitary
magazines and t-shirts.
Many of the bands stay in the Field, their uniforms making it a colourful
sight. Now is the time that their supporters can sit with them. If the weather
is good, people lie back and take in the sun. Those who strip off their
bandsmens uniform often have a band t-shirt underneath or, even more
commonly, a Glasgow Rangers football shirt. So common are Rangers shirts,
it feels as though all the bandsmen take off their variety of uniforms to reveal
a common uniform underneath. The drinks are passed around, as teenagers
lie in each others arms. One friend described the Field to me as hickey city
since so many girls and bandsmen seem to come out with love bites on their
necks. Younger band members take it in turn to have a go banging the big
drum and the more enthusiastic flute players sit and practise their skills. This
often continues despite the fact that the County Grand Lodge is trying to hold
a service and politicians are giving speeches at the platform. Clause 8 of the
Conditions of Engagement demands that no drumming should take place


Orange Parades

during the public meeting, but I have never visited a Field where it has not
been the case that at least one band was told to stop playing. Most band
members seem oblivious to the meeting even taking place.
The Service of Thanksgiving usually starts at 2.15 p.m. with the public
meeting taking place around 3.00 p.m. The service involves prayers, a
scriptural reading and an address given by a chaplain in the Order, which
incorporates the resolution on faith. Two hymns are sung, one of which is
usually O God, our help in ages past which is sometimes described by
Orangemen as Ulsters anthem. A senior member of the County Grand Lodge
chairs the public meeting. After some introductory remarks the Secretary of
the County Grand Lodge reads some announcements, which include a letter
that the County Grand Lodge writes to the Queen every year offering their
loyalty. The reply, from the Queens personal secretary, is a polite thanks for
their continued loyalty. This is followed by the more overtly political element
of the platform speeches. Three resolutions are read out individually by
different members of the Institution, resolutions on faith, loyalty and state.
The resolution on faith will already have been spoken to in the service. At
least one Unionist MP has spoken in the last few years with the exception of
1994. In 1992 the UUP MPs Martin Smyth and James Molyneaux spoke, in
1993 it was Smyth, in 1995 Smyth and DUP MP Reverend William McCrea
and in 1996, the new leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble. The
speaker constructs a speech around each resolution. At the end of each
speech there is a call for everyone in support of the resolution to say aye.
There is no opportunity for a nay.
Despite the large number of people in the Field, very few listen to the
platform speakers, most continuing to eat, drink, sleep, and wander around
the stalls. There are at most a couple of hundred people, including
researchers and journalists, listening to the speakers. The only moment
when more people start to concentrate on the platform speakers is towards
the end of meeting when awards are handed out to bands. The awards were
introduced in 1977, one of the aims being to try to improve the standard of
bands taking part.4 Awards are now given in categories covering style,
appearance and music such as Best Band, Most Improved Band, Best
Accordion Band, Best Outside Band and Best Drum Major. As the results
are read out some of the competitiveness between the bands can be judged
from the cheering and a little jeering that might take place. After a vote of
thanks for all those who have helped to organise the day, the National
Anthem is sung. This usually catches the attention of those in earshot of the
public address system, but leaves most people in the Field oblivious.
Normally, with the relatively small numbers of people listening, there is
very little crowd participation. I have never witnessed the sort of heckling
that took place at Field speeches from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, nevertheless, the occasional heckle does take place. Martin Smyth in particular
has had a few problems over recent years. If a heckler is too persistent, a
Marshal usually goes to deal with him. At the Twelfth Field in Pomeroy in

The Twelfth


1998, Spirit of Drumcree leader Joel Patton, already upset at the presence of
a reformed IRA man in the Field, started to heckle the speaker, local Presbyterian minister and Armagh Orangeman, William Bingham, who, some days
earlier, had recommended that the protest at Drumcree be stopped. The confrontation became physical and was captured by TV cameras, to be shown
on the evening news programmes.
Orangemen offer a number of reasons for the poor attention paid to the
proceedings. Quite obviously, the increased tendency of many lodges to
travel to a hotel or church hall for lunch, rather than have a picnic at the
Field, immediately reduces numbers. A couple of Orangemen have also
suggested to me that in the past the Twelfth was the only time one got to
hear ones MP speak. Now, of course, they are on television all the time.
What is said in the speeches is highly predictable and they are, to a certain
extent, aimed at the media. Press releases of the more important political
speakers at the different venues are handed out in advance so they can make
the editions of the Belfast Telegraph, Northern Irelands evening newspaper.
What is obvious is that, as far as most people in the parade are concerned, the
service and platform speeches are simply not a part, let alone an important
part, of the day and simply provide an opportunity to eat, drink and delay
the moment of getting back to the parade.


At 4.00 p.m. in the afternoon the return parade begins to form up. From the
apparent random chaos on the Field, the parade comes together surprisingly
quickly. The order of the Districts in the parade remains the same and participants seem to know when they should be looking to fall in. That is not to
say that all runs smoothly. Many are returning from lunch and trying to get
to the Field, down the narrow road, as parts of the main body of the parade
are trying to leave. Also, by now some have imbibed copious amounts of
liquor and they make up a slightly confused if noticeably more relaxed
element within the parade. Bandsmen and Orangemen hurry to join their
lodge, that may have left the Field while they were busily relieving
themselves. The odd band appears to be leaving the Field with fewer members
than they had when they arrived, whether because they are late, drunk or
otherwise involved. On one occasion I saw a lodge remonstrating with their
band half way back to Belfast because the band was so short of numbers.
This notwithstanding, by the time the parade reaches Shaws Bridge and
takes the main road back to Belfast most have found their place.
There are some noticeable differences in the return journey. There is a
more carnivalesque atmosphere to the parade. Quite a few bands dress up in
some way. This may involve face paint, or the wearing of masks or funny
hats. One band must have been changing their uniform, since all the
members cut the trousers to turn them into shorts. In 1994 another band


Orange Parades

wore sombreros which may have been related to the fact that Mexico had
knocked the Republic of Ireland out of the recent World Cup. Arab headgear,
rubber face masks and wigs are among some of the other additions. As the
parade makes its way back there are even more exits from the rows of men
to discreet, and not so discreet, points to relieve themselves. The deportment
of bandsmen and Orangemen alike is not quite as military as in the outward
journey. More of the bands and lodges zig-zag down the road and dance little
jigs, whilst for a few the whole process becomes difficult and every so often
an Orangeman staggers into the person in front of him. Yet many bandsmen
do not drink. There are bands and lodges that remain smart and look as
disciplined as when they started. Members of colour parties, and officials at
the front of lodges, remain disciplined. If an Orangeman or a band go beyond
the limits then they should have their sashes taken from them and be
removed from the parade, or be told by a lodge Marshal to behave
themselves. I have never actually seen anyone reprimanded during a parade.
The parade returns along the Malone Road, turns right into Balmoral
Avenue and onto the Lisburn Road. The crowd has barely thinned and as
the parade makes its way down the Lisburn Road there may well be more
spectators than on the outward journey. There are at least two occasions
when the parade again stops to give everyone time for a break. As the parade
nears Sandy Row, at the end of the Lisburn Road, the atmosphere becomes
even more relaxed. From the junction of Tates Avenue down to the point
where Sandy Row meets the Lisburn Road there are a lot of people drinking
and the spectators are more animated; but the liveliest events take place at
the top of Sandy Row. Crowds push in onto the road and squeeze the parade.
Bands save their best for these spectators. Invariably there are a number of
women, sometimes termed Orange Lils, dressed in red, white and blue
clothes waving Union flags. As the integrity of the parade breaks down some
of the women encroach into the middle of the road and encourage the bands
to play louder or embrace an Orangeman that they know (and a few they do
not). Baton twirlers will vie to see who can throw their baton highest or
perform the most gymnastic routines. And almost every band that comes
past plays one tune above all others The Sash. The biggest reception is
saved for Sandy Row No. 5 District. A huge cheer goes up as the District
bannerette appears down the road. As the parade continues along the Dublin
Road, Sandy Row District turn off into Bruce Street, Hope Street, and onto
Sandy Row. The District parade then proceeds up Sandy Row to the Hall,
which is back near the junction with the Lisburn Road down which some of
the parade may still be proceeding. The noise of the bands echoes off the walls
of the buildings, creating a cacophony in the area.
At Shaftesbury Square, Ballynafeigh District No. 10 have in the past peeled
off to head down Donegall Pass and onto the Ormeau Road back up to their
District hall. However, in recent years they have accepted an alternative
route back that takes them through the Botanic and University areas of
Belfast, joining the Ormeau Road at the Embankment and then crossing the

The Twelfth


bridge. The rest of the parade moves into the city centre again back along
Donegall Place and Royal Avenue. Shankill No. 9 District turn right up
Peters Hill onto the Shankill. Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7/8 return up Donegall
Street to Clifton Street. Meanwhile Ballymacarrett No. 6 District turn off
Donegall Place into Castle Place and High Street to proceed over Queen
Elizabeth Bridge, down Middlepath Street onto the Newtownards Road
turning right into Templemore Avenue.
The reception Ballymacarrett District get in east Belfast matches the
reception Sandy Row got as they returned home. As they pass on the other
side of the road from the nationalist Short Strand area a few Catholic kids
watching at a distance, and there is some taunting between them and some
of the teenagers following the bands. Orange Marshals stand keeping their
eye on the behaviour of those in the parade. In Templemore Avenue the
crowds gather to welcome the parade home; the local Gertrude Star Flute
Band getting a particularly big welcome. The final act of the District feeder
parade is for the colour party and officials to stand along the side of the road
and receive the parade as it marches past. Then, as at the end of all parades,
the National Anthem is played, all flags being lowered except the Union
flag, and the parade breaks up. Even at this point a few bands and lodges
might parade back towards their areas. Most of the bands finish up a side
street and play the National Anthem before they break ranks. By the time
they have finished the parade back in east Belfast, they will have marched
at least 12 miles.
Belfast can be an eerie place immediately after the Twelfth. Most pubs in
the centre of town remain closed, the streets are covered in litter, and the
RUC withdraw some of the large numbers of officers from areas of confrontation such as the lower Ormeau and the Short Strand. Some of the
residents of those areas are only now allowed out of the streets onto the main
road. There is often some tension in areas with a large Catholic community.
Stone-throwing or taunting is not uncommon between rival groups, but, in
the main, the centre of the city remains quiet.


For many loyalists the Twelfth is not the end of the commemorations. On 13
July, or 14 July if the Twelfth or Thirteenth falls on a Sunday, a large parade
is held by the Black Institution in Scarva, a small village in County Down,
where King William is supposed to have rested on his journey down to the
Boyne. Members of the loyal orders flock from all over Northern Ireland and
the very small village becomes so packed that it is hard to move. This parade
ends up at Scarvagh House, a country house at one end of the village where
a Sham Fight takes place between King Billy and King James. This Sham
Fight seems to date back into the first half of the nineteenth century,
although it is only around the time of the First World War that the parade


Orange Parades

appears to have become a Black parade rather than an Orange parade. As

with the Twelfth, the parade at Scarva has its feeder parades in other towns.
In Belfast there will be Black parades from all the District lodges to different
points in the town. Formerly, the parades were to a station, to get on a train
to Scarva, but in recent years the parades have gone to particular areas
where buses are parked. These parades are smaller than the Twelfth Orange
parades and take place around 8.00 a.m.
The parade at Scarva makes an interesting comparison with the Twelfth
at Belfast. It has many more of the attributes of a country parade. There are
fewer blood and thunder bands and more kilty, accordion and silver bands.
One bandsman from a blood and thunder band in Newry once complained
to me that the parade was full of squealing cats, a reference to the bagpipes.
Also, since the route is so narrow it is almost impossible for supporters to
walk alongside the bands and most make their way straight down to the
Field. The banners of the Black Institution display religious imagery, predominantly scenes from the Old Testament (Buckley 1985; Jarman 1995,
1997a). Members of the Black wear black collarettes and also an apron
similar to that used in Freemasonry, with many of the symbols displayed also
reminiscent of those of the Masons. On the whole, more smart, dark suits are
worn by the Blackmen and the whole event has a relaxed but respectable
atmosphere to it. The spectators often appear to be in their Sunday best.
There may be a few Glasgow Rangers shirts around, but not as many as in
a Belfast parade. The parade route length is probably not much more than
a mile, but by the time one has pushed ones way though the crowds, it feels
longer. It goes through some large gates into the grounds of a moderately
sized country house.
The scene at the Field at the rear of the house could probably best be
described as a large church fete. The central part of the Field is a mass of
people and around the outside is a selection of food stalls, stalls selling cheap
patriotic gifts, and church stalls selling tea and sandwiches. In 1994 and
1995 there was also one alternative platform at the far end where a preacher
gives sermons on salvation. The main platform is at the top of a hill, and is
set up at the rear of the house overlooking the fields. A row of chairs is placed
behind the microphone so the senior Sir Knights of the Black Institution can
sit during the platform speeches. Most of the central part of the Field is taken
up with spectators eating and wandering from stall to stall.
The parade comes in at the top of the Field, goes between the platform and
the house, and then down into the Field before breaking up. Different
elements of the parade head for different parts of the Field. Bands leave piles
of instruments while they go off to look around the Field. Up at the main Field
the Sham Fight takes place. It is not impressive. Four riders on horseback
and about eight foot soldiers enter the Field dressed in seventeenth-century
costume. William, astride a white horse, one other rider and four soldiers are
dressed in red uniforms, James and his men in green. Each side is carrying a
flag. They split up and approach each other in the middle of the Field where

The Twelfth


everyone is sitting. Picnickers hurry out of the way whilst others hurry from
other parts of the Field to get a view. The kings dismount and there is a small
engagement with swords. Then the foot soldiers carrying shotguns fire
buckshot at the opposing flags. After a minute or so the two armies part
and move up towards the platform where they engage again, both flags
beginning to become peppered with holes. Again the armies proceed further
up the hill and shots are again fired as they engage. At either this
engagement or a further engagement the green flag is eventually shot from
its pole, making King Billy inevitably the winner. The crowd cheers and
everyone goes back to whatever they were doing. The whole performance
lasts no more than about 5 minutes.
The platform formalities again involve a religious service, followed by the
three resolutions, of faith, loyalty and state. Thanks are given to the Buller
family for the use of Scarvagh House. After the singing of the National
Anthem, the parade begins to prepare for the short return journey. Blackmen
from Belfast return to the city and complete another small parade to their
respective Orange District hall.
The events at Scarva, however, also show some of the contradictions
found at the Twelfth. In a neighbouring field, discreetly hidden by trees, is a
large marquee containing a bar. Blackmen and bandsmen with their female
following wander down to the bar, out of sight of the main event. Whilst
elderly men support a pint of beer, teenagers are found sitting in groups or
with a partner rolling about in the grass. Just as with the Twelfth on the
previous day, the Thirteenth is as much about drinking as it is about
Protestant temperance and as much about teenage sexuality as it is about
loyalty to the throne.


In describing the marching season and the Twelfth I have highlighted the
divergent interests that are revealed in the variety of parades and within the
parades themselves. The Eleventh night, the Boyne commemorations in
Belfast, and the Thirteenth at Scarva are complex rituals involving large
numbers of people. I have suggested that within the events there is room for
creativity and I have examined some of the changes that have taken place in
the Twelfth and the attempts to limit those changes. Each event is unique.
Yet whilst highlighting the uniqueness, the elements of continuity must not
be ignored. Alternative perspectives on the events might focus on the ritual
commemoration as social memory (Connerton 1989: 4171). That
embodied in the form of the event, in bodily movements such as marching,
is a re-enactment of the past. Jarman has argued that the Twelfth in Belfast
is a performative re-enactment and that for a day the Orangemen
constitute themselves as a replica army and the parade mimics the departure
to and return from war (1995: 1501). Quite clearly the parades take place


Orange Parades

within a cultural sphere which in itself imposes limitations. Continuity is

explicitly present on this level. It is also possible to read a direct historical
narrative: the landing of William in Carrickfergus, re-enacted in mid-June,
the march of the Orangemen on the Twelfth, south out of Belfast in the same
direction that William took on his way to the Boyne, and the Sham Fight at
Scarva, where William was supposed to have rested on his way to the battle.
But I have heard very little evidence of such a discourse. The events at Carrickfergus, in Belfast and at Scarva are never described as being linked and
interpreted in such a way. The Belfast Twelfth is not seen as being any more
authentic than other Twelfth parades in Northern Ireland just because it
could be linked geographically to the journey of the Williamite army in 1690.
To do so would appear to give the Belfast Twelfth a priority over the other
Twelfth venues that would run contrary to the general development of
Orangeism. Indeed, some country Orangemen treat the Belfast parades with
distaste. The Belfast parades are seen as a little rough and lacking in the
decorum that would be found in a country Twelfth parade.
My approach has been to examine the more conscious and overt political
pressures exerted on the Twelfth that have influenced the form, content and
interpretation of the parade. The rituals are clearly a political resource
because of the sense of continuity, a sense of continuity reasserted in the
claim of tradition. But to remain politically influential they must be able to
adapt to changes in the political arena. The traditional events provide an
arena for the powerful and for the less powerful. The more obvious relationship between Catholic and Protestant ethnic groups, which is normally
highlighted when discussing Orange parades, is only part of what is taking
place. Within the events themselves are relations of power built on social
class, geography, religious denomination and political differences. The public
transcript of respectable Orangeism is under constant threat from elements
within the events that not only feel antipathy towards the Catholic
community, or Irish nationalism or the police, but also towards the
purveyors of respectable Orangeism. In Belfast, as in many other areas, the
Orange Order have been unable to direct events in such a way that they
conform to their public explanations of what is taking place. The traditional
parade has been a resource for different elements of the Protestant
community to express their understandings of a violent local political world.
In the chapter that follows I look at how recent shifts in political power have
influenced the parades and how the claim of tradition is used to maintain
the legitimacy of the event.



O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come
Be thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.
(O God, our help in ages past Ulsters national anthem?)

The dominant discourse used to legitimise the parades is that of tradition.

Despite the recognition that the events have altered considerably in living
memory, and despite the quite apparent political utilisation of the events,
the idea that traditional parades express for Protestants a continuity with
the past is present in the way people discuss the events, the way people write
about the events, the speeches from the platform, and is evident in much of
the discourse that emanates from those who report the events. In this chapter
I will explore the way the event and the discourses that surround the Twelfth
have been formed and controlled since the 1970s. I assess the ramifications
for the Twelfth and the Orange Institution of the conflict since the 1960s
and the introduction of direct rule from Westminster. In particular, I analyse
the way in which the changing relationship between the state and the
Protestant community has been reflected in the proliferation of blood and
thunder bands, and the consequent attempts by the Orange Institution to
keep control of the parades despite these changes.
In examining the development of the Twelfth and other parades in the
north of Ireland the ritual occasions are revealed as being utilised by a variety
of different interest groups at different periods of time. From 1795 to the
1870s Orangeism and its ritual expressions were predominantly a lowerclass phenomenon which was both utilised and abandoned by the state at
different times depending upon prevailing political conditions. Since the
1870s Orangeism and the commemoration of the Williamite campaign have
become a focus of Protestant identity. Orangeism was taken up by the
bourgeois classes in Ireland and attained a hegemonic position. Orangeism
became respectable and the ritual and symbolic manifestations of the
Twelfth developed accordingly. I have already alluded to the changes that


Orange Parades

have taken place in the Twelfth in Belfast: its growth in size and prominence,
the development of the Belfast Orange lodge structure connected to political
and economic patronage, the increasing use of parades by politicians, the
consequent development of banner images, the highlighting of the more
respectable and military bearing of the events, widespread coverage by the
local press, and the growth in the variety and quality of musical accompaniment. These processes, I have argued, reached their zenith with the
creation of Northern Ireland. The Twelfth became a ritual of state patronised
by nearly all unionist politicians in Northern Ireland. As part of the ideology
of the state, respectable Orangeism, powerfully embedded within the
structure of the state, was broadly paternalistic. Consequently, it became less
overtly threatening than the Orangeism of the previous century and on a
few occasions the state was prepared to intervene against the more sectarian
manifestations of Orangeism. This, however, was from a position of strength
and presupposed that expressions of Irish nationalism were kept strictly
under control. The conduct of the Twelfth, and of respectable Orangeism,
was based upon a position of power.
I have also indicated that throughout these developments there have been
divisions within Orangeism. While these divisions are significant at the level
of religious denomination, they are fundamental at the level of social class.
Crucial to understanding these frictions is the relationship between the
British state and Orangeism, and the developing relationship between the
British and Irish states, the developing ethnic identities within those states
and most particularly the class relationships within the state of Northern
Ireland (Bryan 1998b). The position of power that the Orange Institution
has held since its formation has significantly changed at a number of points.
The ideology of Orangeism has reflected those changes and the Twelfth
parades play an important role in those dynamic relationships. From the
mid-1960s onwards the very existence of the northern quasi-state was at
stake. In 1972 the British state introduced direct rule. The political relationship of the Orange Institution and the state fundamentally changed. That
is not to say that the Institution became powerless far from it but in
relation to the state, and the forces of the state, it existed in a new
environment. One of the consequences of these changes is that expressions
of working-class loyalism, particularly in the form of the blood and thunder
bands, became more assertive and have clearly developed a subculture of
resistance to the forces of the state, specifically the RUC (Bell 1990: 97141).
This has had ramifications for respectable Orangeism since it has increased
the likelihood of Orange parades being utilised to confront the police, and
therefore amplified the class frictions within the Institution.
For example, by 1972 the communal situation had worsened and, significantly, the defence of communities was now being claimed by a variety of
paramilitary groups. Certain urban social spaces had become No Go areas
for the state security forces, a situation depicted by the authorities as a
breakdown in law and order. There were serious doubts about whether the

Tradition, Control and Resistance


annual Drumcree church parade in Portadown could go ahead. In late June

the UDA had erected barriers in estates close to Portadown and tension in
the Obins Street Tunnel area was very high, there having been disturbances
in preceding months. Eventually bulldozers cleared away barriers that had
been put up in Obins Street on the Sunday morning and CS gas was used to
disperse rioters. When the disturbances had subsided a contingent of
Orangemen started their parade. They were led by a group of at least fifty
UDA men who proceeded to stand either side of the road up to the Tunnel
and who promised police they would go on through if one shot was fired. Not
surprisingly, this show of strength and the apparent threat of 3,000 available
UDA men, led to both the Official and Provisional wings of the IRA
threatening to stop Twelfth parades going down Obins Street, warning the
UDA that they would not be allowed to repeat such actions. Whilst the
parades on 12 July and 13 July passed peacefully, three men were shot dead
in Portadown on the morning of the Twelfth and later that month there was
a bomb in Woodhouse Street (Provisional IRA), a bomb in a local Catholic
church (loyalist paramilitary), and a gun battle in the Obins Street area
involving, it would seem, members of the IRA, UDA and, subsequently,
members of the security forces, to clear out IRA nests.1 Importantly it was
community forces such as the UDA that acted to protect the parade, the
British state could only be relied on when the enemy had been engaged.
Many nationalists view such events as confirming an alliance between the
state, Orangeism and loyalist paramilitaries. However, in retrospect, the
development of community-based defence organisations probably reveal
the start of a breakdown of the network of power that existed between the
forces of the state and the Protestant community. By the mid-1980s this was
to bring sections of the Protestant community into conflict with the police
over parades in Portadown.
The Twelfth was no longer an expression of the state and, under this new
situation, those involved in the parades were forced to become more
proactive in defence of their position. An ethnographic analysis of the
parades reveals many of these tensions. Many of the more senior Orangemen
came under criticism at platform speeches, particularly up until the mid1970s (Bryan et al. 1995: 20). Symbolic displays within the parades
developed, utilising the iconography of loyalist paramilitary groups. Bands
took up names such as Defenders, Volunteer Force, Citizen Volunteers,
and Young Loyalists which they displayed on uniforms and on the drums.
Flags reflecting allegiance to the UVF were introduced by blood and thunder
bands. An Orangeman suggested to me that there were more Northern
Ireland flags used than Union flags, and in the late 1980s there were even
Independent Ulster flags, which represented the thinking of a small section
of loyalism, particularly within the UDA, in a few Apprentice Boys parades.
Many of the new blood and thunder bands started to develop their own band
parades. While most of the band parades took place along uncontentious
routes within loyalist areas, these new events meant an increase in the


Orange Parades

number of parades and a lengthening of the marching season. A town such

as Portadown not only had Orange, Black and Apprentice Boys parades at
the traditional points in the year, but also had three band parades plus some
parades by the bands returning from band parades in surrounding towns.
The whole environment within which the annual cycle of parades was
taking place was changing in terms of the number of parades, the period of
the year in which they took place, the content of parades, and the relationship of parades to the police and to the Catholic community. This appears to
have been recognised by the RUC in the early 1980s with a 1984 Force
Order, which directs police policy, discussing an upsurge in the number of
bands whose members are predisposed to overt and unruly displays of
sectarian bitterness.2 John Hermon, the then Chief Constable, later reflected
the changing attitude to parades in his autobiography.
By mid-May 1985, the Force [the RUC] was fully prepared to address the smoldering
problem of loyalist parades. Over almost a century, these had been given a special
position in Northern Ireland and appeared to have acquired a sort of temporal
sanctity. Participants believed they could march wherever and whenever they chose.
Their marches epitomised the right to civil and religious liberty, as long as the
religion in question was Protestantism. . . . I was not alone in believing that the
superior attitude of the loyalists, in respect to their marches, had to be changed.
(Hermon 1997: 1712)

If this was the prevailing attitude of an increasing number of senior police

officers, and it coincided with more concerted opposition to loyalist parades
by nationalists, then it is not surprising that the relationship between the
RUC and elements of the parades was to become strained.
In 1985 it was public knowledge that the British government under
Thatcher and the Irish government under Fitzgerald were having detailed
discussions about their relationship with Northern Ireland. The insecurity
this produced within unionism became apparent in the summer of 1985
when there were major disturbances in Portadown over Orange, Black and
band parades. The Anglo-Irish agreement was signed in November and the
protest from the unionist parties became intertwined with the parades issue
resulting in further riots in the summer of 1986 (Cochrane 1997: 12283).
During the disturbances at an Apprentice Boys parade in Portadown at
Easter one man was killed when hit by a baton round fired by the RUC. While
in the nationalist community the police were still perceived as in the main
protecting loyalist parades, the relationship between the police and loyalists
was strained and certainly many people in the bands and Orange Order felt
that the police were against them. Numerous stories circulated at the time
of Irish government officials being present in Portadown, of Irish policemen
being drafted into the RUC and of Catholic policemen being drafted in to the
Mobile Support Units (MSUs) that deal with civil disturbances. All these
stories implied that the police had become an out-group, no longer part of
the Protestant community. Orangemen symbolically threw money at the

Tradition, Control and Resistance


feet of policemen, and a large number of police homes were attacked. It was
widely perceived by unionists that Dublin was dictating the policy on parades
(Bryan et al. 1995).

At the height of these confrontations the complexity of the events and diffuse
nature of authority within the Orange Institution became evident. Particularly among the District, County and Grand Lodge officials and within the
UUP there was great concern over the confrontations with the RUC and the
utilisation of the parades by paramilitary elements. There was not only a
sense in which they were unable to control some of what was taking place,
but also a concern that other groups were trying to gain political legitimisation from the confrontations. As senior Orangemen and UUP politicians
called for restraint, others could be seen as greater defenders of Protestantism. The physical and ideological control of the parade was contested
within the unionist community. A number of political figures followed
strategies to maximise their political capital. It is interesting, for example, to
examine the part that Alan Wright played in the 1985/86 Portadown
controversy over the right to march through the nationalist Tunnel area of
the town. For a short time Alan Wright, who had had no notable political
profile previously, came to represent hard-line opinion within the Orange
Institution. In 1985 his position was limited in that he had a role derived
from his membership of the Portadown No. 1 District. However, by 1986 his
political profile had grown as he acted as spokesman for the Ulster Clubs
(Cochrane 1997: 1347). This appeared to bring him into conflict with the
Orange Institution when, prior to the Twelfth of July parade, he called for all
Ulster Club members to come to Portadown for the day. District Master
Harold Gracey immediately issued a statement pointing out that Wright was
not speaking as a District representative. The same sort of dispute took place
between Ian Paisley and Martin Smyth. Although Paisley has no official role
within the Orange Institution, he nevertheless played a prominent role in
the debate and during the Twelfth in 1985 turned up to offer support. When,
on the Twelfth of 1986, Paisley described Portadown as a dispute about
obedience and submission to Dublin, Martin Smyth reminded members of
the Institution that only he, and not Paisley, dealt on behalf of the Orange
Order. Paisley, Smith argued, could only appeal to non-Orangemen.
Similarly, Walter Williams, in his capacity as a member of the Grand Lodge,
promised that the Institution would clamp down on outside elements. On
the other hand, UDA leaders such as John McMichael were keen to give the
impression that they were in control of events and that it was the UDA that
could stem the violence. Indeed, at one point after Easter 1986, we find
McMichael claiming that the UDA had advised the Apprentice Boys not to
hold a proposed parade on 5 May. Both George Seawright, a well-known


Orange Parades

hard-line loyalist, and Peter Robinson, the DUP MP for east Belfast, made
appearances at various times in Portadown and, whilst welcomed by some,
were seen by others as outsiders (Bryan et al. 1995).
A similar struggle for control has taken place since 1995. Within the
Orange Institution there developed a ginger group known as the Spirit of
Drumcree which, on 14 November 1995, held a large meeting of
Orangemen in the Ulster Hall, demanding that Martin Smyth resign, that
the Institution should better reflect its members and that there should be no
giving in on the right to parade. Martin Smyths position was never seriously
under threat given that he had a power base in the Grand Lodge, but the
Grand Lodge did set up a commission with the aim of taking submissions
from lodges on the reform of the Institution. The Spirit of Drumcree group
was fronted by Joel Patton, an Orangeman from Tyrone. Over the years that
followed he continually claimed to be the voice of grassroots Orangeism
and organised a number of protests, including on 9 and 10 December 1997,
taking over the House of Orange building in Dublin Road, Belfast, and forcing
a Grand Lodge meeting to be moved to the District lodge building on the
Shankill. Patton criticised any move from local, District, County or Grand
Lodges that appeared to him as appeasement over the parades issue (see for
instance Kelly 1998: 414). His position was close to that of the DUP and he
was also joined on many protests by a number of individuals whose profile
had grown more prominent in their own areas during the parades disputes.
He was trenchant in his critique of members of the Grand Lodge Education
Committee, particularly the Reverend Brian Kennaway, who were actively
promoting religious and cultural understandings of Orangeism over the
political and recommending alternative strategies viewed as more conciliatory. Patton certainly voiced the views of a section of Orangeism, probably
a more rural constituency, but actually was never able to repeat the large
Ulster Hall meeting. There were a number of reasons for this. In 1997 Martin
Smyth, who had been the focus of some of the criticism stood down as Grand
Master, and was replaced by Robert Saulters from west Belfast and after that
the Grand Lodge did take a relatively tough approach to the parades issue.
But perhaps most importantly Pattons style, which often, in public, showed
little respect for senior members of the Institution, would have upset many
Orangemen. There were constant calls for Orangemen to settle their
differences within lodge meetings. The final embarrassment seemed to come
when Patton and his supporters heckled Reverend William Bingham and a
confrontation took place with umbrellas at the Twelfth Field in Pomeroy in
1998. Later in the year Patton was suspended from the Institution and has
since spoken of his disillusionment with the situation.
There have always been criticisms of senior members of the Orange
Institution, particularly from Orangemen with fundamentalist views. From
the mid-1960s onwards these Orangemen coalesced around Paisley. He has
had some success in being perceived as being more Orange than those in
the Grand Lodge, without himself being a member of the Institution. This

Tradition, Control and Resistance


became even more acute in the early 1970s when the DUP became a real
political force, with other politicians in the Orange Order such as the
Reverend William McCrae using platforms to criticise moderate unionism.
The role of loyalist paramilitary groups and some of the blood and thunder
bands has also been important during the same period. Orange parades are
at the focus of a complex network of political interests. Whilst they provide
an opportunity for disparate unionist groups to walk in apparent unity, any
exploration of the events or the discourses that accompany them soon
reveals the parades as an arena for political opposition. Disputes over parades
in Portadown have offered no more than the appearance of unity, and even
that unity has been short lived. The control that the Grand Lodge and the
Ulster Unionist Party wielded up until the mid-1960s was always questioned,
but that control has been shattered by the enormous political changes which
have since taken place.


The confrontations over parades in Portadown in 1985 and 1986 in part
led to the introduction of the 1987 Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order. It
significantly made no provisions that allowed traditional parades any rights
over and above other sorts of parades as had existed in the 1951 Act. Seven
days notice had to be given for a parade and the powers given to police to
impose conditions on the parades were increased. This was yet another
reminder to unionists of their loss of power. They were no longer able to
define rights to use the streets through the claim of tradition (Jarman and
Bryan 1998).
Despite the defence of civil and religious liberty being a central tenet of
Orangeism, it does not form a significant part of the discourse over the right
to march. It is used more as a mantra. One possible reason for this is that
taking a civil and religious liberty argument too far might have repercussions in terms of the nationalist right to march, which remained limited even
after the introduction of direct rule (Jarman and Bryan 1998). The call for the
right to use the Queens highway is not made through a discourse of human
rights and the Orange Order have as yet made no significant move to use
British or European courts to press for their right to parade. Tradition and
history remained a better source of legitimisation for Orangemen than some
more general concept of civil rights. The more widespread reaction of
Orangemen to the recent events within Northern Ireland has been a
reasserting of tradition. The late Harold McCuskers speech in the House of
Commons at the start of the Portadown dispute in 1985 is typical.
When the men of North Armagh try to walk in Portadown it will be over a route they
and their forefathers have traversed since 1796. They are not motivated out of a desire
to break the law, but a sense of historic necessity to express, as they have always done,


Orange Parades

their legitimate pride in possession of their lands. They know instinctively that they
only survive by their solidarity and determination.3

The use of history as a source for legitimisation can be seen by an

examination of the speeches at the Field in Belfast from 1993 to 1996.
Various common themes are linked together. The fundamental problem is
perceived as the threat to the integrity of the Protestant, British, people of
Ulster, a people loyal to the Protestant throne. The speeches construct
Orangeism as the protector of Protestantism against the Catholic Church
Popery, and Jesuits, against Irish nationalism the Social and Democratic
Labour Party (SDLP) and Dublin government, against republicanism Sinn
Fin and the IRA, and against weak British governments as evidenced in
the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and weak security policies. All of
these issues are understood as battles fought throughout history, Luther,
Calvin and Protestant martyrs, the Protestants massacred in Portadown in
1641, Cromwells campaign in Ireland, the Siege of Derry, Enniskillen, the
Boyne, Aughrim, the Diamond, Dollys Brae, the UVF, the Somme, the
formation of Northern Ireland, Stormont, the Second World War and
Irelands neutrality, the IRA campaign, the loss of the B-Specials, the loss of
Stormont, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the loss of the Ulster Defence
Regiment which replaced the B-Specials, and the attack upon traditional
marching rights and all are understood in terms of a Protestant community
under threat and defending itself.
The service of remembrance and the speeches made to the three, or four,
resolutions all reinforce this appeal to historical legitimacy.
We have also seen over the years that insidious campaign being carried on to take
control of the heart of the city of Belfast and then the compulsory, underline
compulsory, re-routing of and opposition to certain traditional Orange parades all
indicate the evil campaign of Romanism not during the last 23 years but for
generations, to move into Protestant areas the Protestants move out and then the
cry goes up of intimidation and persecution of these poor underprivileged Roman
Catholics, who appear all too ready in many cases to be persecuted, to be insulted,
and to be intimidated they love it. But as Orangemen we are committed today as
always to the Protestantism of Martin Luther . . . (Twelfth Platform 1993)
Our lives are under attack, our homes are under attack, our property, our commercial
and industrial life, our faith and our freedom are under attack, our civil and religious
liberty are being attacked, our British way of life is under threat. We are under attack
from many quarters from the SDLP, from Romanism, from republicanism, we have
absorbed 23 years of misrepresentation, intimidation, outright attack, political manipulation and worst of all, let the message go out from this place today, inept
government from British cabinets that lost their moral values, and have cut adrift
from their spiritual moorings . . . (Twelfth Platform 1993)
Two hundred years on, history is repeating itself all over the province and again the
attack of republicanism focuses again on Portadown as in 1795. We cannot ignore our
history as some people would like us to do. We cannot forget the burning of Protestants

Tradition, Control and Resistance


in Loughgall, the driving of Protestants into the River Bann at Portadown, and followed
by the ferocious attacks and atrocities since 1969 . . . (Twelfth Platform 1993)
We have read the history books, from 200 years ago the Roman Catholics forming
into groups known as the Defenders, to get rid of the so called heretic dogs, better
known by you and I as Protestant people. Well today is no different from 1795. There
is a Pope on the throne, a Polish Pope who was around in the days of Hitler and the
concentration camps of Auschwitz when they stood back and watched thousands go
out to death without one word of condemnation . . . (Twelfth Platform 1995)

The Twelfth provides a ritual expression of this historical integrity. It not only
commemorates the Boyne but, through the banners, through music, through
the names of lodges and bands, through the appeals to history in the speeches,
through dress codes, and through behaviour, it invokes and celebrates a
perceived common Protestant past and a perceived common Protestant
identity. The rituals on the Twelfth are formalised and repetitive, they appear
unchanging (Larsen 1982b; Jarman 1995; Tonkin and Bryan 1996).
This discourse of tradition is rarely questioned in the coverage of the
parades by the media (Bryan 1998a). The two broadly unionist newspapers,
the Belfast News Letter, which is more hard-line, and the Belfast Telegraph,
which is generally more liberal, have both adopted a similar style of
reporting of the events. The Twelfth is reported as a day when the Protestant
community comes together as it has always done. Since the mid-1950s the
detailed descriptions of the day and the speeches has given way to predominantly pictorial coverage. Typically in the 1970s these two newspapers
produced a pull-out supplement showing a happy carnivalesque day, old
men and young babies, women dancing in their union jack skirts, impressed
overseas visitors, pretty girls from an accordion band seated in the Field, an
Orangeman resting his feet, a group having a picnic, and occasionally a
flute band.
Back in 1972 the Belfast Telegraph produced a 12-page supplement with
pictures of Orangemen braving the rain, lambeg drums and plenty of smiling
faces. Each page leads with a headline: Never mind if it rains, Lambegs
catch the ear . . . and its quite a sensation, A step through the tunnel, Nogo is not an obstacle, The Somme remembered and Thousands go on
parade. In 1978 we find: Impressive pageantry . . . and also in Portadown,
A spectacular show. . . and its country style, Happy marchers . . . and the
sun shines on and An anniversary prelude . . . to a familiar sound. In 1980:
Id walk a million miles, A day to enjoy and remember and 1981: All the
ceremony of the big day, Spectators show their own style and A time to
enjoy . . . for all ages.
The Belfast News Letter provides us with similar themes, in a special pullout
edition even if it uses fewer corny headlines. For instance, 1992 saw A
piping hot extravaganza and Night of flags and fun. The local newspapers
in unionist areas follow a similar style. Take for example The Larne and East
Antrim Times: in 1980: Preserving 12th heritage, young and old share,
1981: A happy day for all, A smart turnout, 1982: Pageantry on parade,


Orange Parades

Brethren and bands relax, 1984: All decked out to celebrate, 1987:
Glorious Twelfth.
The main theme articulated in this pictorial form, and reinforced by the
headlines, appears to be to show as little sign of division as possible. The overwhelming discourse is one of a community taking part in a traditional
occasion as they have through the generations. The 1972 the Belfast
Telegraph did have a picture of marchers heading towards a roadblock under
No-go is not an obstacle and also pictures the controversial Tunnel area in
Portadown although no protesters were in sight. We have people taking
things in their stride, enjoying a well-earned rest and doing it in style. The
Belfast News Letter gives us the spirit of the Twelfth4 and traditional tunes
of the flutes.5 The Ballymena Guardian has the Family day out in
Cullybackey and the Larne and East Antrim Times also produces the same
sort of material.
What is perhaps more significant is what is not shown. In all the
supplements I have seen there is not one picture of anyone drinking alcohol
or any suggestion that part of the fun might involve intoxication. Of even
more interest, despite the recent proliferation of paramilitary symbols on
flags, bannerettes, uniforms and drums carried by bandsmen, there are
almost no pictures with even a hint of such regalia. I can find only three
occasions when any such symbols appear anywhere in the pictures. This
situation is particularly noticeable in Belfast where the blood and thunder
bands, with their many references to the UVF, YCV, and even the Red Hand
Commando, now dominate the parade. In 1996 the picture of a UFF colour
party in a Twelfth parade in Randalstown reproduced in the Newtownabbey
Times forced the Grand Lodge to suggest publicly that it would mount an
investigation.6 Major disturbances at parades, as there were in Portadown
in 1985 and 1986, are kept to the news section of the paper and not allowed
to adulterate the traditional community occasion reported in other parts of
the paper. So marked is this separation that at times the heckling of a speaker
is reported on the front page, but, in the special Twelfth supplement section,
that same speech is reported as if nothing happened. In short, the image of
the Twelfth produced by these newspapers is that of respectable Orangeism.
This apparent division between the reporting of the events and the
reporting of the news surrounding the events is sustained in broadcasting.
The first recorded programme of the Twelfth was made in 1952 and the
Twelfth was shown on a TV newsreel the following year. The first live
television broadcast from the Belfast parade occurred in 1958 and in 1961
a highlights programme was shown in the evening. In 1964 even the Irish
Republics broadcasting company, RTE, covered the Twelfth, and in 1965
the BBC extended its coverage to venues outside Belfast. During the period up
until the mid-1960s coverage appeared to be relatively unproblematic. With
the civil unrest that engulfed Northern Ireland in 1969 being so closely
connected to both civil rights and loyalist marches, Orange and Apprentice
Boys parades started appearing in a new light on news and documentary

Tradition, Control and Resistance


programmes. Interestingly, it seems that the way the broadcasters dealt with
the disturbances surrounding parades was not dissimilar to the way the
Belfast News Letter and Belfast Telegraph dealt with them. Coverage and
highlights of the parades were seen as separate from incidents that took place
in and around the parades. The parades were seen live and on highlights
programmes, while the news showed incidents connected to the parades.
Nevertheless, despite the continued patronage given to the Twelfth by broadcasters, their relationship with the Orange Institution became more fraught.
Senior members of the Institution were concerned about documentary and
news coverage of Orangeism. In 1986 the BBC decided not to have live
coverage. One can only guess at the actual reasons for this decision, but in
1985 there had been major disturbances surrounding parades in Portadown
and this probably gave the BBC the excuse it had been looking for. This
coverage was replaced with extensive midday news reports and an extensive
highlights package shown in the late evening. A similar package was shown
on Ulster Television. Whilst the news reports cover incidents occurring
where marches take routes through nationalist areas, the highlights package
provides us with images, a commentary and interviews that in many ways
replicate the aforementioned newspaper coverage.
A review of recent programmes reveals the overwhelming stress upon the
historical nature of parades. This is not only done by the frequent use of the
word tradition and it is used often but also by the way the subject matter
is framed. There are continual references to past events the Battle of the
Boyne, the Battle of the Diamond, the Battle of the Somme, two World Wars,
etc. There are continual references to the generations taking part, as commentators seem to go out of their way to find the youngest and oldest
participants in the parade. As we are told by the BBC commentators during
an interview with two members of the Banbridge District in 1993: there
may be 60 odd years between them, but they joined the Order for the same
reason tradition. Commentators give the potted histories of lodges, banners
and bannerettes as well as stories of founding members of the Institution.
There are also plenty of interviews with older members of the Orange Order,
often ones who have their long service medals. A sample of the commentary
on the BBC programme reporting a Ballinderry parade should suffice.
The road to Ballinderry in County Antrim. At the head of the parade the officers from
host District Ballinderry No. 3, accompanied by the Orange Orders Imperial Grand
Master James Molyneaux.
At the front a bannerette older than any of the marchers. A gift from a local Church
of Ireland rector to Ballinderry No. 148 in 1883.
Six other Districts joined the march. Derriaghy, Lisburn, Hillsborough, Aghalee,
Glenavy, and Magheragal. At one and a half miles this was a mere stroll compared to
the old days. It is recorded then on the 12th of July 1849 the lodges of the area
marched via Glenavy and Crumlin to Antrim and back, a round trip of some 40 miles.
The history of the Orange Order here goes back a long way . . . [interview with the
District Master who tells us how lodges used to meet by the light of the moon].


Orange Parades

For one of todays marchers, a certain brother . . . from Ballinderry, it was a double
celebration, his birthday. Born on the Twelfth 33 years ago his parents called him
William. Among the youngest at the parade 2-year-old . . . from Lisburn, watching out
for her father . . . of Flower Hill lodge.
At the Field the main speaker was James Molyneaux, who accused the Irish Foreign
Minister, Dick Spring, of firing an Exocet at the prospects of new political talks, by
suggesting joint authority for the province. And Mr Molyneaux predicted news of
moves towards better local democracy [interview with Molyneaux].

It is interesting that despite the introduction of modern party politics into the
programme, through an interview with the then leader of the Ulster Unionist
Party, other political aspects of the parades are conspicuous by their absence.
Amongst the shots of happy smiling faces and prominent unionist politicians
there are almost no pictures of paramilitary symbols. In fact, there is a
general concentration on the Orangemen rather than the bands and on the
respectable bands rather than the blood and thunder variety. Neither are
there any shots of alcohol being consumed or of the consequent behaviour.
This type of television coverage is therefore very similar to the newspaper
coverage discussed earlier.
The discourse of tradition is departed from when older Orangemen suggest
that things are not what they used to be. For example a District Master in
Fermanagh, interviewed on the 1993 highlights programme, suggests that
the county lodges better represent the Orange Order than the city parade,
which he believed sometimes brought the organisation into disrepute.
However, even this is in some senses a call for a return to the past, to the way
it used to be. The overwhelming image conveyed is one of respectability,
continuity and historical stability.
When the line of respectability is crossed, when the BBC broadcasts an
alternative reading of the Twelfth, the Orange Institution immediately reacts.
On the morning of the Twelfth in 1994 BBC local radio transmitted an
interview with some young lads in the Donegall Pass area who apparently
said that the Twelfth was about getting drunk, having a good time and
throwing stones at the taigs (abusive slang to describe a Catholic). At the
Twelfth speeches senior Orangemen gave their reaction.
I was shocked this morning as I listened to the early news, to hear what the BBC were
sending out as regards our demonstration today as they approached young band
members asking those young inexperienced boys, what does the Twelfth mean to
you? And the reply, a time to get drunk, a time to celebrate, a time to attack the taigs.
Thats what they said. That may be the voice of pagan Protestantism, but its not the
voice of Orangeism. The voice of Orangeism is here to proclaim the truth of the reality
of the living Christ and if the BBC want to hear what we stand for and what we are
about, let them come with us to the central cross and find in Christ the Way, the Truth
and the Life. (Twelfth Platform 1994)

A second Orangeman followed this theme:

I very much welcome and reiterate the remarks of our County Grand Chaplain in his
sermon and address when he referred to the news bulletin this morning on Good

Tradition, Control and Resistance


Morning Ulster, I was sitting in the studio and heard in the background this report
coming from a young Protestant in Donegall Pass. It was sad as Brother Ryan has
said, that this young man is misguided about what the Twelfth of July is all about. I
trust that young man will reflect today on what he did say, I trust that he will come
within the body of the colours that we wear and learn what Orangeism is all about and
learn what Protestantism is all about and it is deplorable that the radio station
concerned actually used that report and I trust that people will realise that what was
said by that young man does not reflect the views of the Orange Institution or the
Protestant people in this Province. (Twelfth Platform 1994)

Meanwhile, in the Field, youngsters were getting drunk and practising their
sectarian tunes.
Given the ongoing peace process in 1995, the BBC agreed to show the
Twelfth live again. This threw up some interesting problems because without
the editors cutting room it is less easy to control an image. The BBC
commentator mentioned both the problems with part of the parade on the
Ormeau Road and the demonstration, at the front of the parade, by the fringe
loyalist parties demanding the release of political prisoners. Nevertheless, the
commentary, using Orangeman Clifford Smyth as co-host, was replete with
historical references. The recent developments in the bands were mentioned,
but the paramilitary insignia, when shown on camera, were completely
ignored. When one recently dead paramilitary member was shown on a
bannerette, Clifford Smyth failed to mention who it was, and simply described
the lodge as having a militant nature. Any discussion of the UVF or YCV
took place in terms of their 1912 existence and not their contemporary manifestation. As such, although it was forced to reveal some of the more
temporal aspects of the parade, the coverage nevertheless continually
reverted to the historical model.
In 1996 the BBC was truly faced with a problem. On 7 July the Drumcree
church parade in Portadown had been stopped by the police from following
its traditional route through the predominantly nationalist area of the
Garvaghy Road. There followed four days of major disturbances in loyalist
areas in Northern Ireland, with millions of pounds worth of damage being
caused, and a Catholic taxi driver shot dead in Lurgan. Then, on Friday 11
July, the police forced a way through nationalist protesters attempting to
block the route, triggering major disturbances in nationalist areas. On the
day of the Twelfth a massive police and army operation over a twenty-fourhour period kept nationalist residents of the lower Ormeau Road hemmed
into their streets to allow Ballynafeigh District to come down to meet the
main parade. The BBC was obviously forced to abandon its original plans for
coverage and integrate both their mid-morning live coverage and the
evening highlights programme into a more news-style programme. This
produced letters of complaint in unionist papers. Even so the sanitised live
commentary, with Clifford Smyth as co-host again, was mocked in the
nationalist Irish News.


Orange Parades

The whole thrust of the coverage by the unionist newspapers, and some
of the coverage by BBC and UTV, sustained the model of respectable
Orangeism as part of the local heritage keeping the community together. It
almost completely ignored contemporary changes in the events, it tries to
de-politicise what is taking place even when covering political speeches
it ignores the drinking, it ignores the sectarianism, it ignores the conflict.
Even as the burnt-out cars on road blocks smoulder, the discourse of
tradition and respectability is maintained.


I have attempted to detail the way the parades have been utilised by different
interest groups. In particular I have tried to indicate how what I have called
respectable Orangeism has attempted to maintain the position that it
attained from the end of the nineteenth century onwards. The Twelfth
became a focus for unionist politicians to legitimate their position as leaders
of the Protestant community by calling upon a particular understanding of
the past that placed Orangeism as defender of that unified Protestant
community against the Roman Catholic Church. To achieve that political
legitimisation there was an ongoing attempt by politicians, and by senior
Orangemen, to control the ritual occasions, and the discourse and meanings
implicated in the rituals. Up to the mid-1960s, this control, while never
complete and challenged from both the political left within unionism and
from more fundamentalist Protestant positions, was relatively unproblematic
given the relatively secure nature of the state. However, as the Orange and
unionist elite failed, unable to deliver through economic and political
patronage, so respectable Orange hegemony came under pressure. It was
not Orange enough for the DUP and some of the loyalist paramilitary
groups, which felt the need for a more pro-active opposition to a strengthened nationalist community and to republican violence. On the other hand,
Orangeism became less palatable for the British state, now more directly
involved in an unstable and expensive part of the Union.
The Twelfth of July began to reflect new lines of political fracture, new
relationships with the state, and particularly resistance to the forces of the
state. No longer was it primarily a state ritual. No longer were the rights of
Orangemen to parade the streets unquestioned. No longer was the police
force prepared to defend the right to march without question. From the mid1960s on, the Twelfth began to reflect a more militant form of sectarianism
developing in fractured working-class urban areas. By the 1970s the Twelfth
in Belfast and other large towns expressed the insecurities in Protestant
working-class areas brought about by an increasingly violent campaign
waged by the Provisional IRA and disenchantment with the role of
successive British governments. Intriguingly, the only period when the
Twelfth regained some of its former confidence, according to press reports,

Tradition, Control and Resistance


was between 1977 and 1980. This coincided with the Ulsterisation of the
security situation involving a greater stress on the local police force and the
UDR. Further, Roy Mason, the Labour Secretary of State for Northern
Ireland, was widely viewed as being tough on terrorism, and there was a
reduction in general paramilitary activity (Bruce 1992: 1356). But after
the Hunger Strikes the rise of Sinn Fin in elections brought new political
pressures to bear. The British state, in order to undermine the support for the
republican movement, looked to constitutional nationalism and towards
deals with Dublin. For these relationships to work the RUC would have to
make greater strides in policing all communities equitably. Given that the
loyal orders dominated the sphere of public ritual displays, holding parades
even in some towns with large Catholic majorities, and given the more
militant nature of some of those displays, clashes between the RUC and
loyalists using sensitive parading routes became inevitable. Respectable
Orangeism was caught between its support for the state and rule of law and
growing disenchantment within the ranks of the Institution with the actions
of that state. It had had little reason not to support the RUC in the past and
yet militant loyalism, in the form of DUP fundamentalism and the paramilitaries, started to play a larger role within parades organised by the Orange
Institution, as well as in newly developing parades, therefore increasing the
possibility of the state intervening in the right to march. Attempts by the
Institution, such as the introduction of The Terms of Engagement to control
some of the new elements, were at best half-hearted. Moderation appeared
to many Orangemen to win nothing. Respectable Orangeism, the
Orangeism of the 1950s, was in retreat. Respectable Orangeism was no
longer hegemonic. In 1992 militant elements within Orangeism were
highlighted in the reaction of those in the Ballynafeigh mini-Twelfth parade
as they waved five fingers at a handful of protesters who were outside the
bookmakers on the Ormeau Road where five people had been shot dead by
the UFF.
Towards the end of 1994, first the IRA, then loyalist paramilitary groups,
announced cease-fires. For many Orangemen, the euphoria accompanying
an apparent end to the Troubles was tempered by suspicions that they would
be sold out. The peace process did not increase their security. It was revealed
that the British government had been secretly negotiating with members of
Sinn Fin in the lead-up to the cease-fires. Suddenly everyone appeared to
be courting Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fin. Residents on the lower
Ormeau, and on the Garvaghy Road felt more confident about publicly
opposing parades (Jarman and Bryan 1996). More parades were re-routed
from the lower part of the Ormeau and the disputes began to become world
news. On Sunday 9 July 1995 the RUC decided to block the Drumcree
church parade from returning into Portadown along the Garvaghy Road.
The first Siege of Drumcree had begun. Two days later a parade went ahead,
and on the Twelfth the police hemmed in protesters on the lower Ormeau to
allow No. 10 District through. All the political fracture-lines, which I have


Orange Parades

discussed, became clear. Within the Orange Institution, Grand Master Martin
Smyth was accused of weakness as he failed to appear at Drumcree, and
Paisley appeared to take command of the situation whilst militants in the
crowd attacked the police. The fracture between Orangeism and the state
was revealed as policemen were threatened and abused, and, of course, the
animosity between the Catholic community and Orangeism appeared as
wide as ever as both accused the other of naked sectarianism and of not
respecting the others identity. The disputes were not reflecting the enmities
of 1690, but the dynamic politics of 1995. Months after his dramatic
appearance at Drumcree, Trimble became leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.
After the events of the summer of 1995 the Institution tried to state its
case over parades by introducing a pamphlet called The Order on Parade
(Montgomery and Whitten 1995). It set out to explain the reasons why the
Institution organises parades. It described the celebratory nature of the
events, the events as pageants, the events as a demonstration of strength,
the parades as a testimony of religious belief and the events as a sense of
This provides a sense of linking with past generations. There is a sense of confidence
and pride in taking part in a ritual parade. It gives the impression of continuity
through time. (Montgomery and Whitten 1995: 7)

The authors of the pamphlet, before linking the form of contemporary

Orange parades to the parades of the Irish Volunteers of the 1780s, quote
my own words in arguing that ritual gives the impression of stasis, of lack
of change, even timelessness; and thus a security of identity to those taking
part (Bryan et al. 1995: 10, quoted in Montgomery and Whitten 1995: 7).
But they ignored completely our thesis that the parades were fundamentally
dynamic events reflecting and acting upon the current political environment.
They discussed the impression of continuity and the impression of timelessness as if the word impression had not been used.
At the conclusion of The Order on Parade the authors do make some
suggestions: they call for Orangemen to examine the use of flags and music
in parades, they also call for a re-examination of the way the hangers on
that follow parades are controlled, and they suggest that more thought
should be given to the appearance of paramilitary symbols in parades. The
behaviour of brethren on parade is of paramount importance and it is on
that behaviour that the eyes of the public and our media will concentrate
(Montgomery and Whitten 1995: 35). Appendix One of the document
reproduced the Conditions of Engagement (1995: 367), Appendix Two
reproduces a song entitled The Siege of Drumcree (1995: 38):
No more calls for compromise
Or trying to appease.
The Protestants of Ulster
Have got up off their knees

Tradition, Control and Resistance



In the summer of 1996 the right to parade became the major issue in local
politics. The RUC Chief Constable, Hugh Annesley, decided first to stop the
Drumcree parade then, after four days of Orange parades, road blocks, and
rioting he decided that the public order was best served by clearing away
nationalist protesters and facilitating the Orange parade down the Garvaghy
Road. This involved physically dragging people from the road and the use of
plastic bullets to keep protesters back. It appeared to most nationalists that
the state had caved in to Orange pressure. There were several days of rioting
in nationalist areas with one man killed in Derry when hit by an army
vehicle. The whole of Northern Ireland seemed to focus upon the right to
parade. Although no agreement was reached the Secretary of State, Patrick
Mayhew, announced a Review Body with an academic, Dr Peter North, as
chairperson. Under its terms of reference the Independent Review of Parades
and Marches looked at the adequacy of the legal provisions covering parades,
the power of the police and Secretary of State, the possible introduction of
new machinery such as a tribunal for deciding on parade disputes and the
possible introduction of a code of practice for public demonstrations. Its main
recommendation was the setting up of an independent Parades Commission
to make determinations in cases where the right to parade was disputed.
The Orange Institution had also initiated an internal commission to take
submissions from other Orangemen on the future of the organisation and
the right to march. Prior to the setting up of the Parades Commission, David
Trimble speaking at the Twelfth demonstration in Belfast, gave his opinion
on the issue.
We will have to see whether we can find some arrangement that can get us out of the
difficulty were in. But its important to bear in mind where the difficulty comes from
because the difficulty is largely the work of the last decade and if anything it can be
traced back to the public order legislation that followed the Anglo-Irish Agreement,
because up until then we had enshrined in legislation the very clear distinction that
must exist between traditional parades of a religious and cultural character and
parades of a party political nature which are not traditional. And that distinction
existed in the legislation. It wasnt a distinction as a preference given to Orangeism as
against nationalism because it was a distinction that protected the traditional cultural
and religious demonstrations of nationalism and Catholicism. It was a distinction
drawn between what was traditional and related to particular cultures and what was
party political. And that distinction existed in the legislation up until 1986 when the
public order legislation was changed as a result of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. And the
difficulties we have had stem from that. And we need to get back to a position that
respects the established customs and practices of our country and protects also those
traditional parades while still providing sufficient regulation to stop people who are
out there coat trailing for party political advantage. That needs to be done. (David
Trimble, 12 July 1996)


Orange Parades

By the Autumn of 1996 all the political parties in Northern Ireland were
preparing policy documents on the issue.

. . . effective political ritual evokes a complex cluster of traditional symbols and
postures of appropriate moral leadership, but it orchestrates them to differentiate itself,
this particular political authority, from what has gone before. Thus, ritual is built out
of widely accepted blocks of tradition, generating a sense of cultural continuity even
when the juxtaposition of these blocks defines a unique ritual ethos. (Bell 1992: 195)

The central form of legitimacy claimed through the Twelfth of July and other
parades is that of tradition. The claim of tradition is an attempt to import
a unity, a sense of stability, and a sense of timelessness to an ethnic identity.
It attempts to draw a boundary around the Protestant community, not
simply in the present, but through history, linking the perceived causes of
the Protestant people, fought for at the Boyne, at the Diamond and at the
Somme, with those of the present. The discourse that accompanies the
parades rarely if ever questions the continuity of the events. The media
reinforces a particular image of the ritual, helping it to work ideologically.
Yet I have tried to argue that this apparent continuity disguises the
dynamic forces within the events. Each ritual occasion is unique. It is created,
performed and utilised in the present. It exists within a field of relationships:
of class, of denomination, of locality, of political party, of ethnicity and of age,
which act to change it. The most significant of these relationships are those
between the political elite in Northern Ireland and the working classes, and
between the political elite and the state. By the time a particular form of the
state effectively collapsed in 1972 the lines of political fracture, the lines of
resistance, within the ritual events were already being re-drawn. The
internal and external pressures changed. The traditional ritual was being
created in new conditions.
Tradition, of course, is not created once and then left to its own momentum. Tradition
exists because it is constantly produced and reproduced, pruned for clear profile, and
softened to absorb revitalising elements. (Bell 1992: 123)

In Belfast the traditional Orange parade lost the lambeg drum, the silver
bands, most of the accordion bands, the patronage of the middle classes and
the legitimacy gained from the attendance of the states political leaders. It
gained the blood and thunder bands with their colourful uniforms, their
paramilitary flags and their own particularly masculine marching displays.
For many participants the traditional Twelfth, which was once an
expression of loyalty to the state, now provides an opportunity to express
their opposition to the present form of the state.



On Sunday morning of 7 July 1997 the RUC and the British army conducted
a major operation in Portadown to clear the Garvaghy Road of protesters.
Hand-to-hand fighting took place through the night and into the morning.
In the middle of the day the Orangemen of Portadown made their way down
the road after their church service surrounded by journalists from all over
the world and protected by army and police vehicles. Residents of the
Garvaghy Road, unable to get to the church, held a Mass on the street.
Rioting in the Garvaghy Road and other nationalist areas followed the end
of the parade. For reasons that have been much speculated about since, the
new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mo Mowlam, and the new Chief
Constable, Ronnie Flanagan, decided not to have a stand-off with
Orangemen as had taken place in 1996. The previous day I, like many
others, had believed that they would block the parade. However, a perceptive
member of the Garvaghy Road Residents Group suggested to me that they
were probably in a win-win situation. Either the parade was stopped, or,
beamed across the televisions of the world, local residents would be dragged,
kicked and beaten by RUC men in paramilitary uniforms to allow
Orangemen the perceived aggressors down a piece of road. That
particular resident understood the longer political game, as did the IRA,
which, on 19 July, after such aggression by the British state on Irish
Catholics, announced a reinstatement of their 1994 cease-fire.
Drumcree IV in July 1998 may well prove to be a defining event for the
Orange Institution. In April of 1998 the Public Processions (NI) Act had
become law and the Parades Commission was empowered to make determinations on disputed parades (see Jarman 1999a). The Orange Order, in most
areas, refused to talk to residents groups, and, now they refused to talk to
the Parades Commission. In making determinations the Parades Commission
was bound to take account of conditions set out in section 8(6) of the Act:
(a) any public disorder or damage to property which may result from the procession;
(b) any disruption to the life of the community;
(c) any impact of the procession on relationships within the community;
(d) any failure to comply with the code of conduct (whether in relation to the
procession in question or any previous procession); and
(e) the desirability of allowing a procession customarily held along a particular route
to be held along that route.



Orange Parades

Whilst the last criterion (e) had been put in to placate the Orange Institution,
the Institution was not prepared even to make a case to the Parades
Commission. As such, they were unlikely to get favourable decisions. In spite
of a number of high profile efforts to negotiate between residents and
Orangemen in Portadown, the two parties never met face to face, no
resolution was found and the Parades Commission re-routed Portadown No.
1 District away from the Garvaghy Road.
On 5 July the parade left Drumcree church and met a large container
placed by the army as a barrier across the road. In addition, miles of barbed
wire were ringing the Garvaghy Road area. The Orange Order was facing
the well-prepared forces of the state. The tactics of blocking roads had proved
so counter-productive in 1996 that the Orange Order instead aimed to
intensify the protests in Portadown. Nevertheless, there were disturbances in
a number of other towns. Thousands of Orangemen and their supporters
arrived at the field opposite Drumcree church. The crowd grew every night
and diminished during the day but many camped in the field. The greatest
fear for local residents and the RUC was that on 12 July Orangemen from all
over Northern Ireland would descend on the fields at Drumcree.
Two elements made the dispute even more complex. First, three months
previously the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement had produced 71
per cent of those who voted in Northern Ireland in favour, but amongst
unionists there was probably only just over 50 per cent voting Yes and
unionist No voters saw Drumcree as a point of mobilisation. Second, the
breakaway element of the UVF known as the Loyalist Volunteer Force was
strongest in Portadown. After the murder of their leader Billy King Rat
Wright the LVF had also moved to a cease-fire, but a number of other
dissident loyalist groups were said to be in existence and active.1 The
restraining influences on loyalist groups in Belfast, based on a political
analysis supporting the peace process, did not exist in Portadown where the
Drumcree parade was a key opportunity to stand and fight. Early in the
morning of 2 July ten Catholic churches around Northern Ireland took petrol
bomb attacks and, in the days that followed, Orange halls were attacked in
retaliation. Although the violence on the first two nights of the Drumcree
stand-off was limited, it increased in the days that followed. Live on national
television, young loyalists scaled the barriers and fought hand-to-hand
battles with the RUC, fireworks were thrown at police lines over the barbed
wire and then pipe bombs were used, seriously injuring a number of police
officers. Each morning Orange spokesmen from the Grand Lodge desperately
tried to distance themselves from the violence and focus on the issue but it
was clear that they were unable or unwilling to control what was taking
place. It was not easy to argue that the Orange Order was a respectable, law
abiding, religious organisation. On the other hand, any sign of weakening by
Grand Lodge was countered by Joel Patton and the Spirit of Drumcree Group
claiming to speak for grassroots Orangeism.

Return to Drumcree


The result of this protest, once one has grasped the dynamics of the
Orangeism, was inevitable. As soon as they had encouraged everyone to
come to the protest confrontations were almost unavoidable. Each night
parades by Orange districts from all of Northern Ireland were held down to
police lines. Bands and lambeg drummers played in the field. Events
remained relatively peaceful through bright summer evenings, but after
about 10.00 p.m. things became more violent. On the nights of 811 July
the violence at the field became progressively worse and shots were fired at
the police. In my estimation the crowds started to get smaller at this point.
As criticism came from Protestant church leaders, unionist politicians and
the RUC, active support for what was taking place started to dissipate. The
disparate nature of Orangeism meant that they could not maintain a protest.
If members of the Orange Order wanted to keep the event peaceful they
would have had to arrange low-profile protests and would be seen by many
as weak. But in organising mass events they were allowing a range of interest
groups, some within the Institution, others outside, to mobilise and utilise
the protest. They were in the same dilemma as they had been throughout
the Troubles.
On the evening of Saturday 11 July, in Ballymoney, County Antrim, a
Drumcree protest provided the context in which a petrol bomb was thrown
at a house with a Catholic family in it. Three young brothers Richard, Jason
and Mark Quinn burnt to death. It was not an inevitable result of Drumcree
IV that children were going to die, but it was always inevitable that any
strategy followed by senior Orangemen involving mass gatherings and
sustained protests would end in violence, and support within unionism and
within Orangeism would start to disappear. The Reverend William Bingham,
an Orangeman who had been part of the County Armagh delegations
negotiating with the government on the issue, made a public statement in his
church that the Garvaghy Road was not worth a life and called for the protest
to end. Ulster Unionist MP Ken Maginnis and Church of Ireland Primate
Robin Eames, made similar appeals, and, crucially, First Minister designate
David Trimble, the man who had come to lead the UUP partly because of his
role at Drumcree, now called for the protest to end. Yet, whilst members of
Portadown No. 1 District were not prepared to walk away and District Master
Harold Gracey determined to stay, members of Grand Lodge appeared on TV
clearly shaken. The Orange Order was divided and the Twelfth commemorations (held on Monday 13 July) did not become the day of reckoning that
everyone had feared, rather it became an arena for all the differences to be
aired both publicly at the platform speeches and privately to journalists and
researchers alike.
The Drumcree protest has not ended at the time of writing. Harold Gracey
and members of the Portadown District have been at the field right through
to March 2000. There have been parades in the town every week for a year.
Some have ended in violent confrontation and one policeman was killed by
a blast bomb. Tension was high again for the Drumcree parade in 1999 but


Orange Parades

it was clear the Orange Order could not afford to mobilise as it had before.
Senior members, committees and governing bodies in the Church of Ireland,
the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church all produced damning
criticism of the Orange Order. The synod of the Church of Ireland called for
Orangemen not to be invited to Drumcree church, although they had no
power to stop the select vestry at Drumcree church from giving the
invitation, which they did. During 1999 David Trimble had face-to-face
discussions with members of the Garvaghy Road Residents Group but the
Portadown Orangemen refused to involve themselves in anything but
proximity talks. Consequently the parade was again re-routed by the Parades
Commission and the security forces constructed even bigger barriers than
before. On 4 July the Portadown No. 1 District came out of the church and
headed down to police lines, they handed in a letter of protest to a waiting
police officer, turned and headed back up the hill and dispersed. They were
going to maintain their protest, but they were not going to allow a repeat of
the mass gatherings of the previous years. The worlds press only had an
Orange church parade to report.


Part of the cultural struggle is a struggle over the dominant symbolic paradigm, the
struggle for hegemony. . . . It is the struggle for the privileged to protect their positions
by fostering a particular view of peoples self-interest. It is a process that involves
defining peoples identity for them. How else can peoples strong devotion to such
abstract entities as the nation or peoples willingness to die for this unseen identity be
explained? (Kertzer 1988: 175)

Ritual empowers, but only within limits; it enables domination and disguises
domination but also only within limits. Ritual provides a space for resistance
and negotiation. The parades in Northern Ireland take place within a
complex set of relationships involving those with authority over the events
attempting to exert control, those participating and watching (willingly or
unwillingly), the wider political communities, and the forces of the state.
The mere existence of a plausible structure of expression of a grievance or of the mobilisation of a mass following might be sufficient to persuade people with very different
kinds of motivation to gather behind its banner. (Anthony Cohen 1994: 148)

The interests that groups and significant individuals have in utilising parades
varies and changes depending upon the particular political situation at the
time. Whilst there are clear power differentials within these relationships,
even the relatively powerless can use the parades as a resource to some degree.
I have tried to understand how a particular form of ritual action came to
play a central role in the field of politics in the north of Ireland. I have argued
that ritual action is a specific type or quality of action to which individuals
commit themselves. I have tried not to make assumptions about why

Return to Drumcree


Orangemen commit themselves to the parades, as personal commitments

vary. The parades are complex events in which a diverse range of actors
participate. The multi-vocality of symbols allows common allegiance to
particular symbols without a common understanding of those symbols. Nevertheless, dominant meanings are attached to the parades by those with the
power to impose meaning. These are meanings with which many participants might agree but which become dominant regardless of the mass of the
participants. Most participants are not in a position to articulate their own
motivations. The parades, to that extent, take on an existence over and above
the motives of participants and can be appropriated by different interest
groups in the labour of representation.
Over the last thirty years the Twelfth parades have exhibited obvious
changes, such as the introduction of new symbols and new styles of band,
reflecting the changing political positions of interest groups, and yet this has
done little to disrupt the discourse of tradition. There have been attempts by
senior Orangemen to control these changes, such as the introduction of band
contracts, but those attempts have, in the main, been ineffectual.
Those in charge of the ritual may scold and insist on proper reordering, but if a
growing number of ritual participants take the new direction, such officials may
instead tacitly accept the spatial shift and even claim it as the real way allowing
new agency by default. (Parkin 1992: 20)

I have found no evidence of widespread use of UVF flags prior to the 1970s.
Yet they are now commonplace and defended by many Orangemen, even if
senior Orangemen are not totally at ease with their presence. It has been part
of the struggle respectable Orangeism has undertaken, that it has had to
deal with the changes taking place, particularly the antipathy of some in the
parades towards the state, and yet argue that Orange parades continue to
reflect the unity of Protestant people and their loyalty to the crown. As the
relationship of many working-class loyalists with the state has become more
uneasy it is not surprising that certain elements, those espousing
respectable Orangeism, have become ill at ease, abandoned the parades or
developed discourses defending the legitimacy of the changes taking place
and accepting them as the real way. That is the nature of negotiations of
power within the ritual. In the years since the mid-1960s, which have seen
the demise of Stormont and a reduction in the willingness of the security
forces to defend the perceived interests of the Protestant community,
Orangeism has undergone great changes. These changes have, in the main,
been driven by the working-class Protestant communities for whom
Orangeism once acted as an institution of patronage.
The discourse of tradition and the claim of continuity articulated by
Orange and unionist politicians seem to have been used more frequently
when participants felt that their power was being undermined or, as
Bourdieu might put it, as orthodoxy was increasingly opposed by heterodoxy.
It is now becoming particularly important for the senior Orangemen to utilise


Orange Parades

this discourse in an attempt to legitimate their position, which is being

questioned both from outside and within the Protestant community.
Orangeism is still important enough for Ian Paisley, from a position outside
the Institution, to attempt to appropriate control of Orange parades by
depicting himself as a greater defender of the rights of Orangemen than some
of the leaders of the Institution. After all, those Orange leaders have been
mostly UUP politicians and therefore competing with Paisley and the DUP
for unionist votes. It has in part been Paisleys ability to depict himself as a
sort of super-Orangeman that has allowed him political success within
unionism without actually being in the Institution. Even loyalist politicians,
in parties such as the PUP who would be pursuing a broadly left-wing
unionist agenda, find it difficult to criticise Orangeism, despite their antipathy
towards the Institution because of the way they feel it betrayed workingclass Protestants in the Stormont era. The Twelfth parade in Belfast in 1995
was still seen as the right occasion for the UDP and PUP to walk in front, with
a banner demanding that UVF and UFF prisoners be released. Orangeism still
remains important within the Protestant community. No unionist politician
has yet managed to conduct a campaign on a unionist agenda that is critical
of Orangeism, despite the enthusiasm that the British and Irish governments
would have for such an approach.
Bell suggests that ritual is the way for people to experience a vision of
community order that is personally empowering (Bell 1992: 116). I think
that this is an insightful way of understanding the Twelfth. The parades
clearly provide a sense of belonging and identity. Individuals can place
themselves within the wider Protestant community, even trace their relationship to the communitys leaders. The parades not only embody the
participants belonging to the community but serve to remind leaders of their
responsibilities. This explains why attempts to prohibit or undermine the
rituals can create such violent reactions. And the same perspective provides
an understanding of why politicians continue to find it such a useful, if
complex and sometimes unwieldy, political resource. Drumcree had a
powerful negative impact on the relationships between the Protestant and
Catholic communities, it also further damaged the relationship of the
Catholic community with the forces of the British state. But Drumcree was
also significant for, and in many ways was driven by, the internal politics
within unionism and Orangeism. Between Drumcree in 1995 and Drumcree
in 1996 the Spirit of Drumcree group of Orangemen put pressure on
mainstream respectable Orangeism and on the Grand Master, Martin
Smyth, in particular, to make greater efforts to defend the right to parade.
Portadown, the Orange Citadel as it is sometimes called, was also the area
where elements of the UVF were most keen to see an end to the loyalist ceasefire and where eventually the breakaway LVF was formed. The Ulster
Unionist Party were concerned lest Paisley and the DUP were able to be seen
as leading the battle in David Trimbles constituency. The Drumcree church
parade became a political resource with which not everyone felt at ease but

Return to Drumcree


no-one could ignore. No unionist politician could possibly be seen not to

defend the right to perform that particular ritual. For how then could he
claim to be a defender of the Protestant people?
It is not easy to ascertain the motivations of past Twelfths, except from the
perspectives of the powerful, who are more likely to influence the historical
record. It is not impossible, however. We can try to reconstruct who was
involved and their interests. The early commemorations from the Battle of
the Boyne in 1690 to the formation of the Orange Institution in 1795 were
encouraged in the first place by the Anglican elite in Dublin and then, after
the 1870s, by the Volunteer movement, with its Protestant middle-class
membership. Some in the Volunteer movement questioned the official state
understanding of the Boyne commemoration that had dominated the early
rituals by using it to articulate a broader concept of the rights of citizens. In
1795 the Orange Order formed out of a particular set of class relationships
in County Armagh, generating an alliance of lower-class Protestants and
local landowners. Compared to the use of the Boyne commemorations by
some members in the Volunteer movement, the membership of the
Institution utilised the commemorations and the figure of William in a more
conservative and sectarian way. Frank Wright (1996) has described these
early parades as a form of localised communal deterrence. Under threat from
the United Irishmen, the state effectively endorsed early Orangeism. As the
Orange Institution spread and the Boyne commemorations on 12 July
became occasions for regular sectarian civil disturbances, the state not only
stopped its own Boyne commemorations but attempted to control, and
eventually ban, the Twelfth parades. The increased political power of
Catholics during and after OConnells campaign for emancipation in the
1820s introduced a new dynamic. Protestantism became more than a
religious category, developing into a wider ethnic identity linking place
(Ulster rather than Ireland), politics (unionism), religion (an all-inclusive
Protestantism incorporating the Anglican and Dissenting Churches) and
a version of history focusing upon William of Orange. From the 1870s
onwards Orangeism, expressed through the Twelfth, developed as a form of
economic patronage in Belfast and became respectable. It maintained an
uneasy alliance between Belfasts Protestant working classes and its
Protestant bourgeoisie. Whilst this relationship was always disturbed by
class friction, it was consistently strengthened by the threat of Home Rule
and of domination from the Roman Catholic other. The Twelfth became a
major political event with politicians making speeches to the newly enfranchised Protestant workers. The British state found this political community
problematic. Its sectarian foundations were anathema to many liberal
English politicians yet, when the political power of Ulster unionists was
needed in Parliament, English politicians would explicitly and implicitly
support Orangeism and play the Orange card.


Orange Parades

When the six counties of Ulster were excluded from the final Home Rule
provisions in 1920, the Twelfth effectively became the ritual that most fully
symbolised the new state of Northern Ireland. Orangeism provided an
ideological basis for the state in a sometimes uneasy hegemonic relationship
between the Protestant working classes and an Orange and unionist elite.
Ritualization can . . . take arbitrary or necessary common interests and ground them
in an understanding of the hegemonic order; it can empower agents in limited and
highly negotiated ways. (Bell 1992: 222)

The Twelfth empowered some politicians, but it also had its limitations for
those using it as a political resource. When the interests of the state and the
Protestant working classes did not coincide, the parades could become
problematic for the Stormont political elite. Measures that could be
understood to undermine the position of Protestants vis--vis Catholics
always laid politicians open to accusations of disloyalty. The Twelfth was a
source of legitimised power for a class elite, but the negotiated relationship
between the class interests was ethnically based and the state of Northern
Ireland was built on a partial exclusion of nearly a third of its population.
Orangeism also attempted to hold together diverse Protestant religious
groups, the more fundamentalist of which consistently argued that the
Orange Institution was inadequate as a defender against the Popish hordes.
Eventually, in the 1960s the changing economic and political environment
left the Orange Institution in an untenable position, and economic interests
started to abandon Orangeism as a basis upon which the state was likely to
work. The intensification of the civil rights campaign and subsequent
development of the Provisional IRA put strains upon Northern Ireland that
eventually forced the British state to intervene.
Whilst the British state shared some of the interests of unionists, and was
always likely to sustain and protect the Twelfth as a policy of least resistance,
it was never likely to protect the events at all costs. In the early 1970s, the
Orange Institution made some adjustments to parade routes to make
allowances for the new security situation, but as sectarian violence increased
and republican control of No Go areas demonstrated the impotence of the
forces of the state, groups taking part in the parades became more pro-active
in attempting to assert territorial control in Northern Ireland. Symbols of
Britishness became more prominent within the parades but so too did a range
of more locally based expressions of unionism and Protestantism such as the
Northern Ireland flag, UVF flags and those of political groups such as
Vanguard and the UDA. Fewer members of the middle classes involved
themselves in the parades, the Institution lost members and there was a rise
in the number of working-class blood and thunder bands developing their
own constellation of loyal symbols, their own forms of dress and more overtly
sectarian, aggressive and carnivalesque elements within the parades. Those
more carnivalesque elements were in turn criticised by respectable
Orangemen and the relationship between those elements and the forces of

Return to Drumcree


the state was at best uneasy and often confrontational. New parades
developed outside the control of the loyal orders, run by local bands and paramilitary groups, yet still utilising some of the symbolic patterns of Orangeism.
The RUC, still an overwhelmingly Protestant force, and protector of so
many parades since the foundation of Northern Ireland, started to develop
policies on parades that would have been unthinkable up to the 1970s. Jack
Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC from 1980 to 1989, made his distaste
for blood and thunder bands known. In 1985 and 1986 parades were
banned from the mainly Catholic area of Obins Street the Tunnel in
Portadown. Coinciding with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement the
resulting disturbances seemed to demonstrate the level of distrust between
the Protestant community and the British state.
This is not to say that the forces of the state had become a neutral force
policing Protestant and Catholic alike and attacking the UVF and IRA with
equal vigour. Clearly, the relationship between the state and the Protestant
community was still very different to that between the police and the Catholic
community, but through an examination of the changes taking place in the
Twelfth and other parades, it becomes clear that through the 1970s and
1980s the relationship between the Protestant community and the British
state changed. The ritual parades become a resource with which to express
this changing relationship. This changed relationship became most evident
at Drumcree with the apparent contradiction of Orangemen expressing
loyalty to the Queen, and carrying the Union Jack flag, attacking the Royal
Ulster Constabulary and the British army. The state no longer appears to
share the same understanding of royalty and loyalty as some of its citizens.
Different interests were expressed in a competition of physical, but particularly also of symbolic, dimensions. The continuities of form that undoubtedly
exist through time cannot be assumed to reflect unchanging social relationships. Rather, they reflect the ability of ritual and its symbolic patterns
to be used and re-used within a variety of changing power relationships.


The Number of Parades in Northern Ireland According to RUC Statistics











Source: RUC Chief Constables Reports 198698

* The category of other has only been published since 1995
Whilst there appears to be a significant rise in the number of parades categorised as loyalist
it is unclear as to whether this is an actual rise in numbers or due to the methods used to
collate the figures. Indeed, the definitions used for such categories are open to question (see
Jarman and Bryan 1996 for a more detailed analysis).



The Marching Season: Important Loyal Order Parading Dates




Parade type

Easter Monday

Apprentice Boys

Rotating venue


Easter Tuesday

Belfast Junior Orange Antrim/Down

Seaside resort


Late April

Orange Institution

Ulster Hall, Belfast

Church parade


Junior Orange,
Armagh, Tyrone,

Seaside resort


First Saturday in June

Apprentice Boys



Second Saturday in

Orange Institution,
South Antrim
Orange Institution,
Portadown District

Carrickfergus, Co. Commemorative

landing of William
Portadown, County Mini-Twelfth

Third Saturday in June Orange Institution, North Belfast

Belfast No. 4 District


Last Saturday in June

Orange Institution, West Belfast, White Mini-Twelfth

Belfast No. 9 District Rock parade

Last Sunday in June

Orange Institution

1 July

Orange Institution, East Belfast

Belfast No. 6 District
Orange Institution, South Belfast
Belfast No. 5 District

Somme parade

Saturday before the


Scottish Orange
Orange Institution,
County Donegal



Sunday before the


Orange Institution

Various venues

Church Boyne

The Twelfth of July

Orange Institution

Nineteen venues in Boyne

Northern Ireland


Various venues

Church parades,

Somme parade


Orange Parades




Parade type

The Thirteenth of July

Black Institution,
Armagh and Down
Black Institution,
Lurgan Preceptories

Scarva, County
Bangor, County

Sham Fight

Apprentice Boys of
Black Institution

City of Londonderry Relief of Derry

Week prior to last

Saturday of August

Black Institution
Black Institution

Various venues
Church parades
Various local events Social

Last Saturday of

Black Institution

Six venues in
Northern Ireland

Main parade

Last Sunday of October Orange Institution

Various venues

Church parades

Saturday nearest to 18 Apprentice Boys


City of Londonderry Closing the Gates

Burning of Lundy

Saturday nearest 12



Battle of



1. Fortnight, No. 353, September 1996.





Belfast News Letter 6 July 1750.

Belfast News Letter 4 November 1785, 6 November 1789.
Belfast News Letter 30 June 1778.
Belfast News Letter 28 May 1796.
Belfast News Letter 1115 July 1796.
Belfast News Letter 1 June 1824, Northern Whig 8 July 1824.
Belfast News Letter 6 July 1824, Northern Whig 8 July 1824.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1824, 16 July 1824, 20 July 1824, Northern Whig 15 July
1824, 26 August 1824.
Belfast News Letter 25 March 1825.
Belfast News Letter 15 July 1825, 19 July 1825, 26 July 1825, Northern Whig 14 July
1825, 21 July 1825.
Belfast News Letter 7 July 1826, 11 July 1826, 14 July 1826, 22 July 1826, 20 July
1827, Northern Whig 19 July 1827.
Northern Whig 5 July 1825.
Belfast News Letter 15 July 1828, 18 July 1828.
Belfast News Letter 17 July 1829, 21 July 1829, 24 July 1828.
Belfast News Letter 25 July 1837, 17 July 1838, 2 July 1839, 12 July 1839, Northern
Whig 1 July 1837, 13 July 1837.
Northern Whig 14 August 1845, 2 July 1846, 11 July 1846.
Belfast News Letter 3 July 1846.
Belfast News Letter 20 July 1849, Northern Whig 19 July 1849.
Northern Whig 6 July 1850.
Belfast News Letter 19 July 1852, 29 June 1853, 6 July 1853, 8 July 1853, 13 July
1853, 15 July 1853, 18 July 1853, 10 July 1854, 14 July 1854, 17 July 1854, 19
July 1854, 13 July 1855, 30 June 1856, Northern Whig 9 July 1851, 7 July 1853,
14 July 1855.
Belfast News Letter 19 July 1852, 6 July 1853, 8 July 1853, 13 July 1853, 15 July
1853, 18 July 1853, 2 July 1855, 13 July 1855, Northern Whig 7 July 1853, 14 July
Sessional Papers 18578 vol. xxvi: 251.
Northern Whig 3 July 1858.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1858.



Orange Parades

25. Belfast News Letter 13 July 1861, 15 July 1861, Northern Whig 13 July 1861, 15 July
26. Belfast News Letter 13 July 1864, 15 July 1864, 16 July 1864, Northern Whig 14 July
27. Northern Whig 8 July 1824.



Belfast News Letter 13 July 1867.

Belfast News Letter 2 July 1868, 6 July 1868, 13 July 1868, 14 July 1868.
Belfast News Letter 8 July 1872.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1872.
Belfast News Letter 10 July 1873, 14 July 1873, Northern Whig 14 July 1874.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1873.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1881, 13 July 1882, 14 July 1884.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1884.
Belfast News Letter 1 July 1881.
Belfast News Letter 10 July 1886.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1900.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1888, 13 July 1889, 13 July 1890, 13 July 1893.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1884, 14 July 1891.
Belfast News Letter 3 July 1906.
Belfast News Letter 9 July 1888, 3 July 1897, Irish Daily Independent 13 July 1894.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1896, 13 July 1897.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1892, 13 July 1893.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1895.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1885, 21 July 1885, 12 August 1885.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1902.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1902.
Belfast News Letter 15 August 1902.
Belfast News Letter 19 August 1902.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1903, 14 July 1903.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1904.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1906, 13 July 1907, 13 July 1908, 13 July 1909, 13 July
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1911.
Belfast News Letter 25 September 1911.
Belfast News Letter 28 October 1912, Irish News 30 October 1912.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1913.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1914.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1914, 15 July 1914.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1913.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1917.
Belfast News Letter 2 July 1919, 9 July 1919, 12 July 1919, 14 July 1919.
Belfast News Letter 16 August 1905, 17 August 1908, 18 August 1908.
Belfast News Letter 16 August 1910, 17 August 1910, 18 August 1910, 20 August
Belfast News Letter 1 July 1912, 6 July 1912, 8 July 1912, 11 July 1912, 16 July
Belfast News Letter 11 August 1911, 13 August 1911, 15 August 1911, 16 August
Belfast News Letter 3 July 1918, 5 July 1918, 8 July 1918, 9 July 1918.



41. Belfast News Letter 13 August 1918, 14 August 1918, 16 August 1918, 18 August
1918, 19 August 1918.
42. Belfast News Letter 13 July 1920.
43. Belfast News Letter 13 July 1905, 13 July 1909, 13 July 1910.
44. Belfast News Letter 13 July 1909.
45. Belfast News Letter 13 July 1905.
46. Belfast News Letter 13 July 1906.


Belfast News Letter 14 July 1953.

Belfast News Letter 8 July 1924.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1926, 13 July 1927.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1931.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1937.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1923, 6 July 1926, 13 July 1928, 12 July 1929, 12 July
1930, 12 July 1932.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1922, 13 July 1925, 14 July 1930, 12 July 1932.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1923.
Belfast News Letter 13 August 1931.
Belfast News Letter 15 August 1931, 17 August 1931, 18 August 1931, 19 August
1931, 31 August 1931.
Belfast News Letter 11 July 1932.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1932.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1932.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1932.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1933.
Belfast News Letter 4 July 1935.
Belfast News Letter 17 July 1935, 22 July 1935.
Belfast News Letter 24 July 1935.
Belfast News Letter 11 July 1935.
Belfast News Letter 2 July 1936.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1936, 13 July 1939.
Belfast News Letter 11 July 1936.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1938.
Belfast News Letter 4 July 1945, 13 July 1945, 14 July 1945, 11 July 1946, 12 July
1946, 13 July 1946, 12 July 1947, 12 July 1948.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1948.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1948.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1952, 15 July 1952.
Belfast News Letter 6 July 1960.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1952.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1961.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1948.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1951.
Belfast News Letter 18 July 1959.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1961.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1949.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1958.
Northern Whig 13 July 1956, Belfast News Letter 13 July 1963.
Belfast News Letter 11 July 1955.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1953.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1951.


Orange Parades
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1956.
Belfast News Letter 3 July 1956.
Belfast News Letter 2 July 1957, 2 July 1960, 13 July 1962.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1956.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1960.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1954.
Belfast News Letter 9 July 1958.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1959.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1959.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1964.




Belfast News Letter 13 July 1956.

Belfast News Letter 1 July 1966.
Belfast News Letter 9 July 1966.
Belfast News Letter 11 July 1966.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1966.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1966.
Belfast News Letter 29 August 1966.
Belfast News Letter 12 August 1966.
Belfast Telegraph 12 July 1966.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1967.
Belfast News Letter 9 July 1968, 15 July 1968.
Belfast News Letter 30 June 1969.
Belfast News Letter 16 June 1969.
Belfast News Letter 13 June 1969, 14 June 1969, 16 June 1969.
Belfast News Letter 30 June 1969.
Belfast News Letter 4 July 1969, 5 July 1969, 7 July 1969.
Belfast News Letter 8 July 1969, 12 July 1969.
Belfast News Letter 12 July 1969, 14 July 1969.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1969.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1969.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1969.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1969.
Belfast News Letter 6 August 1969, 8 August 1969, 9 August 1969, 11 August 1969.
Belfast News Letter 12 August 1969, 13 August 1969, 14 August 1969, 15 August
The Times 14 August 1969.
Belfast News Letter 8 July 1970.
Belfast News Letter 9 June 1970, 15 June 1970, 22 June 1970, 26 June 1970.
Belfast News Letter 1 July 1970.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1970.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1970.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1970.
Belfast News Letter 23 July 1970, 24 July 1970, 25 July 1970, 27 July 1970, 28 July
Belfast News Letter 29 July 1970, 30 July 1970, 31 July 1970, 4 August 1970, 5
August 1970, 6 August 1970, 8 August 1970, 10 August 1970, 12 August 1970,
13 August 1970.
Belfast News Letter 27 August 1970, 28 August 1970, 31 August 1970, 21 December
Belfast News Letter 14 April 1971.



36. Belfast News Letter 11 June 1971.

37. Belfast News Letter 14 June1971.
38. Belfast News Letter 16 June 1971, 17 June 1971, 18 June 1971, 19 June 1971, 21
June 1971.
39. Belfast News Letter 3 July 1971.
40. Belfast News Letter 10 July 1972, 13 July 1972, Portadown Times 14 July 1972, 21
July 1972, 28 July 1972.
41. Belfast News Letter 7 July 1969.
42. Belfast News Letter 30 June 1971.
43. Belfast News Letter 12 July 1971.
44. Belfast News Letter 1 July 1971.
45. Belfast News Letter 9 July 1969.


1. Orange Standard December 1995.


1. Orange Standard June 1982.
2. Orange Standard June 1977, July 1979, September 1981, May 1982, September 1985,
December 1985, September 1986, November 1986, May 1987, September 1987,
July 1988.
3. Combat November 1986, Ulster November 1986.
4. Orange Standard October 1987.
5. Irish News 11 July 1992.

1. The Twelfth Programme, Belfast County Grand Lodge: 1967, 1970, 1971, 1985, 1986.
2. The Twelfth Celebrations: The Queens Silver Jubilee 1977.
3. Orange Standard June 1977, July 1979, September 1981, May 1982, September 1985,
December 1985, September 1986, November 1986, May 1987, September 1987,
July 1988.
4. The Twelfth Programme 1978.



Portadown Times 14 July 1972, 21 July 1972, 28 July 1972.

Belfast Telegraph 4 July 1986.
Portadown Times 19 July 1985.
Belfast News Letter 13 July 1993.
Belfast News Letter 14 July 1992.
Belfast Telegraph 20 July 1996.

1. Sunday Life 5 July 1996.


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Allison Lincoln (ed.) The Politics of Sport. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Tambiah, Stanley Jeyaraja. 1985. Culture, Thought and Social Action. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
Tonkin, Elizabeth and Dominic Bryan. 1996. Political Ritual: Temporality and Tradition,
in Asa Boholm (ed.) Political Ritual. Gothenburg: Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology.
Turner, Victor. 1967. Forest of Symbols. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
1968. The Drums of Affliction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
1969. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Chicago: Aldine Publishing.
Walker, Brian. 1989. Ulster Politics: The Formative Years 186886. Belfast: Institute of Irish
1991. 1641, 1689, 1690, and All That: The Unionist Sense of History, Irish Review
12 (spring/summer).
1996. Dancing to Historys Tune: History, Myth and Politics in Ireland. Belfast: Institute
for Irish Studies.


Orange Parades

Weber, M. 1968. Economy and Society. Edited by G. Roth and C. Wittich. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
Weitzer, Ronald. 1995. Policing under Fire: Ethnic Conflict and PoliceCommunity Relations
in Northern Ireland. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Whyte, John. 1990. Interpreting Northern Ireland. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Willis, Paul. 1977. Learning to Labour: How Working-Class Kids Get Working-Class Jobs.
London: Saxon House.
Wright, Frank. 1972. Protestant Ideology and Politics in Ulster, European Journal of
Sociology 14: 21380.
1987. Northern Ireland: A Comparative Analysis. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.
1990. Communal Deterrence and the Threat of Violence in the North of Ireland in
the Nineteenth Century, in John Darby, Nick Dodge and A.C. Hepburn (eds) Political
Violence: Ireland in a Comparative Perspective. Belfast: Appletree Press.
1996. Two Lands, One Soil. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.
Wright, Susan. 1992. Heritage and Critical History in the Reinvention of Mining
Festivals in North-East England, in Jeremy Boissevain (ed.) Revitalising European Ritual.
London: Routledge.

Constitution, Laws and Ordinances of the Loyal Institution of Ireland. Grand Orange Lodge of
Ireland, 1967.
House of Commons Select Committee, Report from the Select Committee Appointed to Inquire
into the Nature, Character, Extent and Tendency of Orange Lodges, Associations or Societies
in Ireland. Sessional Papers 1835, vols 15, 16, 17.
Official Brochure of the Tercentenary Celebrations of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Association.
Apprentice Boys of Derry, 1989.
Pat Finucane Centre. 1997. For God and Ulster: An Alternative Guide to the Loyal Orders.
Derry: Pat Finucane Centre.
Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 463,
Northern Ireland Office.
Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act, 1998.
Report (185758) from Commissioners of Enquiry into the Origin and Character of the Riots in
Belfast in JulySeptember 1857. Sessional papers 18578 , vol. 26.
Steadfast for Faith and Freedom: 200 Years of Orangeism. Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland,
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History of the Royal Arch Purple Order. (n.d.) The Research Group.
Wilson, Mark (ed.). 1995. The Future of the Orange Order. Report of a conference organised
by the Irish Universities Shield of Refuge LOL 369.

Compiled by Julita Clancy

accordion bands, 3, 68, 70, 126

Act of Union, 35
Adams, Gerry, 169
agrarian secret societies, 33, 37
Ahern, E., 18
alcohol, consumption of, 49, 51, 59, 71, 93,
100, 164
bands, rules for, 125
Belfast Twelfth, 4, 144, 147, 149
Scarva, 152
Alliance Party, 15, 87, 104
American flags, 64
American Revolution, 21
Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), 567, 61,
65, 75, 86, 91
Anderson, Benedict, 12
Anderson, J.A., 85
Anderson, T.K., 113
Andrews, John, 87
Anglicans, 33, 34, 45
landowners, 29, 30, 31
AngloIrish Agreement (1985), 158, 162, 171
Annalong (Co. Down), 91
Annesley, Sir Hugh, 4, 171
annual commemorative parades
feeder parades, 120
loyalist parades, 119, 134, see also Boyne
commemorations; Somme commemorations; Twelfth parades; Williamite
republican parades, see Republican
stasis, symbol of, 7
Antrim, 29, 53
Antrim County Lodge, 44
Apprentice Boys of Derry, 1, 9, 97, 103,
11415, 122, see also Apprentice Boys
Amalgamated Committee, 115
Ballynahinch Branch, 89
branch clubs, 115
church services, 120
City of Derry, symbolic importance of, 115
flags, 115
founding of, 114
membership, 114; overlap with Orange
Order membership, 115
parades, see Apprentice Boys parades
parent clubs, 114

political position, 115

purpose of, 114
Apprentice Boys parades, 57, 89, 91, 120, 122,
158, 159
Amalgamated Committee parades, 122
annual commemorative parades, 119, 123
August 1969 (Derry), 85, 86, 95
disputed parades, 115
Easter Monday parades, 64, 121, 123
feeder parades, 120
arches, 40, 47, 50, 63, 66, 70, 73, 130
arch parades, 120
Ardoyne (Belfast), 85, 87, 88, 91
Armagh, 29, 41, 65, 83, 86, 179
battle of the Diamond (Loughgall), 323
Defenders, 32, 34
development of Orange Order, 324
faction fighting, 32
linen trade, 33
outrages against Catholics, 33, 34
Peep ODay Boys, 32, 33
polarisation of communities, 34
Armagh County Grand Lodge, 85
Armistice Day parades, 123
Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland,
97, 114, 142
Augher (Co. Tyrone), 91
Aughrim, battle of (1691), 30, 31, 107, 162
commemoration of, 32
B-Specials, 61, 65, 69, 83, 84, 85, 86, 934, 95
disbanding of, 86, 88, 162
Orange Order, and, 10910
bagpipe bands, 126, 152
Bairner, Alan, 14
Bakhtin, Mikhail, 23
Ballinderry (Co. Antrim), 1656
Ballyclare (Co. Antrim), 82
Ballykilbeg (Co. Down), 44, 45
Ballymacarrett District (Belfast), 72, 100, 101,
122, 139, 141, 151
Somme anniversary parade, 132
Ballymena (Co. Antrim), 39, 81, 91, 121
Twelfth parade, 101
Ballymena Guardian, 164
Ballymoney (Co. Antrim), 39, 53, 89
Quinn children, killing of, 175
Ballynafeigh District (Belfast), 15, 100, 133,
134, 139, 150, 169


Ballynahinch (Co. Down), 81
Banbridge (Co. Down), 65
Banbridge District, 54, 165
band parades, 121, 122, 123, 1578
bands, 3, 4, 9, 23, 49, 64, 68, 69, 923, 118,
1249, see also Band parades; Drumming
accordion bands, 68, 70, 126
alcohol, consumption of, 125
awards to, 148
bagpipe bands, 126, 152
band contract, 125, 128, 1456
Belfast Twelfth, at, 124, 142, 144, 14950
Billy Boy bands, 145
blood and thunder bands, see Blood and
thunder bands
booking of, 124
church parades, at, 120, 125
Conditions of Engagement, 1245, 128, 129,
1456, 1478, 170
disciplinary committees, 127
drums, 3, 127
fees, 99, 124
flags, 128, 146
flute bands, 70, 126
fuck the Pope bands, 92
Glasgow Billy Boys band, 68
juvenile bands, 68
kick the Pope bands, 92, 121
loyalist paramilitaries, relations with, 127,
128, 129, 157, 164
personnel structure, 127
political agenda, 129
rules, 127
Scottish bands, 68, 71, 124, 126, 142
silver bands, 126
teenage followers, 3, 4, 93, 140, 1445,
types of, 126
uniforms, 3, 127, 145, 147
Bangor (Co. Down), 45, 47
banners, 3, 17, 71, 99
banner parades, 120
Belfast Twelfth, at, 139, 140, 144
images on, 501, 99, 139
jazzing of, 71
Royal Black Institution, of, 64, 152
Bardon, Jonathan
cited, 32, 33, 37, 39, 40, 44, 55, 56, 57, 61,
65, 66, 67, 72, 74, 77, 80, 81, 83, 84,
86, 88, 91
Bates, Dawson, 61, 67
Bateson, Thomas, 47
Battle of Aughrim (1691), see Aughrim, battle of
Battle of Newtownbutler, 119, 123
Battle of the Boyne 1690, see Boyne, battle of
Battle of the Diamond 1795 (Loughgall), 323,
34, 107
Battle of the Somme (1916), see Somme, battle of
BBC, 165
Twelfth parades, coverage of, 164, 1658
Beattie, J., 73
Beckett, J.C., 32

Orange Parades
Belfast, 14, 40, 41, 53, 56, 90, see also Ardoyne;
Falls Road; Ormeau Road; Sandy Row;
Shankill; Short Strand; Springfield Road
Ballymurphy, 87
civil disturbances and riots, 5, 56, 66, 80,
85; 1886, 49; 1935, 67; 1970, 878
class differences, 14
Clifton Street, 100
curfews, 57, 88
District lodges, 100
Drumcree dispute, disturbances resulting
from, 5
evictions, 678
expulsions of Catholic workers, 567, 68
industrial development, 38
local identity, sense of, 14
Orange lodges, 445, 100
parades, see Belfast parades; Belfast Twelfth
pogroms, 567, 678
sectarian violence, 38, 678, 80
St Marys Chapel, 32
Unity Flats, 84, 85, 142
Windsor Park, 88
working-class agitation, 66
Belfast County Grand Lodge, 45, 71, 101, 102
Belfast District Lodge, 44
Belfast Grand Lodge, 63, 68
Belfast News Letter
cited, 39, 41, 45, 48, 50, 53, 62, 63, 65, 66,
68, 69, 71, 77, 81, 85, 89, 90, 93, 165
Twelfth parades, reporting of, 46, 51, 58, 73,
163, 164
Belfast parades, see also Belfast Twelfth
disputed parades, 901, 1301, 134
east Belfast, 1323
mini-Twelfths, 1312, 134
north Belfast, 1301
preparations for the Twelfth, 12335
Somme commemorations, 131, 132, 133
south Belfast, 1334
Tour of the North, 1301
Volunteers parades, 32
west Belfast, 1312
Whiterock parade, 131
Belfast Telegraph, 81, 149, 165
Twelfth parades, reporting of, 163, 164
Belfast Trades Council, 61
Belfast Twelfth, 34, 34, 37, 478, 57, 634,
71, 89, 101, 13754, 172
alcohol, consumption of, 4, 144, 147, 149
bands, 49, 1249, 140, 142, 148, 14950;
awards to, 148; bass drummers, 144;
blood and thunder bands, 140, 1446;
favourite tunes, 145, 150; teenage
followers, 1445, 1467
banners, 139, 140, 144
Burdge Memorial Standards, 142
carnivalesque elements, 4, 144, 149
collarettes, 139
crowd participation, 148
demonstrations in front of official parade,
development of, 1556
dress, 139, 140

drums, 144
early parades: 1797, 34
Eleventh Night bonfires, 12930, 1378
feeder parades, 140
Field, 4, 1479; political speeches, 148
flags, 140, 142, 146; colour parties, 3, 142,
144, 150; paramilitary flags, 146
leading the parade, 141
loyalist paramilitaries and, 146, 178
marshals, 140, 141
military aspects, 1434
opposing decorum, 1437
Orange arches, 130
order of march, 1401
organisation of, 139
physical integrity, 141
preparations for, 3, 1239, 1389
religious aspects, 1412, 144
religious service, 4, 148
rest breaks, 4, 146, 150
route of parade, 34, 1413, 1467,
14951; centre of Belfast, 1423;
distance covered, 151; return journey, 4,
Scottish bands, 142
spectators, 3, 140, 141, 1423, 146, 150,
151; Orange Lils, 150
street decorations, 130
Tylors, 140
wreath-laying ceremony, 143
Bell, Catherine, 17, 27, 172, 178, 180
Bell, Desmond
cited, 14, 23, 1278, 144
Bellaghy (Co. Derry), 73
Beresford Accordion Band, 68
Bew, Paul
cited, 58, 61, 62, 72, 74, 77, 78
Billy Boy bands, 145
Bingham, Rev. William, 149, 160, 175
Binns, C., 21
Black Institution, see Royal Black Institution
Black parades, 64, 65, 81, 86, 114, 119, 120,
annual commemorative parades, 119
bands, 126
banners, 64, 152
collarettes, 152
feeder parades, 123
Last Saturday parades, 64, 119, 1212, 123
local parades, 120, 123
Newtownbutler commemorative parade,
119, 123
Scarva parade, see Scarva sham fight
Bloch, Maurice, 17, 18, 1920, 25, 26
blood and thunder bands, 923, 96, 121, 126,
1278, 133, 156, 161, 180, 181
band parades, 1578
Belfast Twelfth, at, 1446
characteristics, 128, 144, 145
Conditions of engagement, 1456
flags, 128, 146
Gertrude Star Flute band, 140, 151
names and regalia, 128
paramilitary groups, and, 127, 128, 146

respectable Orangeism, and, 23, 128
rise of, 145
teenage girl followers, 1445
uniforms, 128, 145
Whiterock parade (Belfast), 131
Bloody Sunday (1972), 91
Boal, F.W., 14
Bogside (Derry), 86, 89, 95
Bogside Residents Group, 115
Boissevain, Jeremy, 23
Bolshevism, 61
bonfires, see Eleventh Night bonfires
Boulton, D., 81
Bourdieu, Pierre, 8, 16, 23, 26, 177
Bovevagh band, 756, 84, 89
Bowyer Bell, J., 88, 89
Boyce, George D., 44
Boyd, Alex, 52, 54
Boyd, Andrew, 40
Boyle, J.W., 52, 53, 54
Boyne, battle of (1690), 3, 7, 12, 2931, 107,
162, see also Boyne commemorations
European battle, 30
Boyne Clubs, 34
Boyne commemorations, 32, 37, 41, 69, 119,
1345, 179, see also Twelfth parades
church parades, 120
creation of, 29
development of, in north of Ireland, 21
early 18th-century commemorations, 21
Orange appropriation of, 32, 41, 42
Portadown church parade, 1, 4, see also
Drumcree dispute
pre-Orange Order, 32
Rossnowlagh (Co. Donegal), 122
Scotland, 122
sectarian civil disturbances, 179
tercentenary celebrations, 121
Bradford, Roy, 81
Braithwaite, R., 53
Brewer, John, 32, 40
British army, 78, 87, 95
Bloody Sunday (1972), 91
loyalists, confrontations with, 92
Orange Order, and, 38, 110
16th (Irish) Division, 55
36th (Ulster) Division, 55, 56, 128
British imperialism, 58
British monarchy, see Crown
British state
direct rule, 78, 90, 91, 110, 156
Orangeism and, relations between, 156,
157, 170, 181
Protestant community, relations with, 181
Twelfth parades, coverage of, 1648
Brooke, Sir Basil, 60, 67, 77, 80
Brooke, Captain John, 85
Brookeborough, Lord, 82
Bruce, Steve, 13, 74, 79, 90, 107, 169
Bryan, Dominic
cited, 6, 11, 20, 45, 47, 48, 49, 61, 69, 75,
80, 113, 115, 116, 119, 134, 145, 156,
159, 160, 161, 163, 169, 170

Bryans, John, 76, 82, 85
Bryson, Lucy, 12, 61
Buckland, Patrick, 54, 61, 86
Buckley, Anthony, 64, 113, 114, 152
Budge, Ian, 40, 41
Bulgaria, 21
Burdge Memorial Standards, 142
Burke, Peter, 35
Burntollet Bridge, 83
Burton, Frank, 13
calendar of parades, 1223, 1834
Calvin, 162
Campaign for Social Justice, 83
Campbell, Flann, 13, 34, 52
Canadian flags, 64
Cannadine, David, 26
Notting Hill Carnival, 234
Orange parades, carnivalesque elements in,
4, 245, 36, 126, 144, 149, 180
resistance, fostering of, 24
Carrick Hill, 51, 56
Carrickfergus (Co. Antrim), 30, 39, 84
re-enactment of Williams landing, 130, 154
Carrickfergus District Lodge, 130
Carson, Edward, 545, 57
Castledawson (Co. Londonderry), 56
Castlederg, 81
Catholic Association, 36, 37
Catholic emancipation, 32, 35, 36, 179
Catholics, see Roman Catholic church; Roman
Cavan, 65
ceasefires (1994), 23
Cecil, Rosanne, 118
Charlemont, Lord, 32
Chichester-Clark, James, 84, 88
resignation, 90
Chichester-Clark, Robert, 76
Church of Ireland, 13, 87
Drumcree dispute, and, 175, 176
church parades, 120, 122, 123
bands, 120, 125
Boyne anniversary service, 1345
Churchill, Lord Randolph, 50
circumcision ritual, 19, 20, 25
City of Belfast Loyal Orange Lodge, 50
civil and religious liberties, 3, 31, 109, 161
civil disturbances and riots, 36, 378, 3941,
49, 656, 75, 80, 83, 8793, 95, see also
Parading disputes; Sectarian violence
AngloIrish Agreement, following, 158
Drumcree dispute, resulting from, 56, 121,
Lurgan, 51, 56, 65, 84
Portadown, 48, 51, 56, 65, 145, 157
civil rights movement, 78, 827
antiinternment rallies, 91
Burntollet Bridge ambush, 83
counter-demonstrations, 83, 84
demonstrations and parades, 11, 278, 79,
823, 95, 180
loyalist parades, opposition to, 95

Orange Parades
nationalist threat, seen as, 83
opposition to, 83, 84, 85, 95
police, confrontations with, 83, 95
republican movement and, 85
riots, 83, 84
civil service, 61
Clark, Sir George, 7980, 81, 82
class divisions, 14, 42, 51, 1567
Twelfth parades, and, 38, 413, 59
class interests
utilisation of parades by, 8, 9, 413, 59,
Clones (Co. Monaghan), 65
Clougher Valley, 54
Cloughmills, 63
Coagh, 54, 82
Coalisland (Co. Tyrone), 66, 86, 91
civil rights demonstrations, 83
Cochrane, Fergal, 15, 158, 159
Cohen, Abner, 6, 7, 16, 19, 23, 24
Cohen, Anthony, 12, 16, 21, 176
Coleraine (Co. Londonderry), 57, 68, 76
collarettes, 70, 139
colonialism, ritualised opposition to, 21
colour parties, 3, 142, 144, 150
Combat (magazine), 112, 129
commemorative rituals, 21, see also Annual
commemorative parades; Boyne commemorations; Easter parades; Somme
commemorations; Twelfth parades;
Williamite commemorations
Commission of Enquiry, 40
communism, 72
community relations, 80, 94, see also Civil disturbances and riots; Sectarian violence
Drumcree dispute, effect of, 178
competitive band parades, 121, 122
Connerton, Paul, 10, 21, 153
Connolly Commemoration Committee, 84
Conservative Association, 53, 58
Conservative Party, 46, 47, 48, 50, 104
Conservative Working Mens Association, 46
Constitution of Ireland (1937), 67
constitutional reform, demands for, 312
continuity, 910, 1819
loyalist parades, 7, 1534, 155, 170, 172,
Cooke, Rev Henry, 40
Cootehill (Co. Cavan), 65
Coulter, Colin, 14, 111
County Grand Lodges, 35, 101, 104
role of, 101
Cowan, Jane K., 23
Craig, James, 54, 60, 61, 62, 66, 82
Craig, William, 90, 91, 92
Crawford, Lindsay, 52, 53, 54, 59
cited, 53
Cromwell, Oliver, 30, 162
Crown, 26, 30, 75
allegiance to Protestant monarchy, 107
George V Jubilee celebrations, 67, 68
Cullybackey, 81
cultural identity, 107
Cumberland, Duke of, 38

custom, 6
tradition, distinguished from, 256
Dil Eirean, 57
DaMatta, Roberto, 17, 18, 23
De Valera, Eamon, 65, 66, 67
Defenders, 32, 34, 163
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 15, 90,
1034, 113, 160, 161, 168
Apprentice Boys, relations with, 115
Independent Orange Order, and, 116
Derry/Londonderry, 6, 23, 57, 83, 89, 95, see
also Apprentice Boys of Derry; Siege of
Apprentice Boys parades (August 1969),
85, 86, 95
Bloody Sunday (1972), 91
Bogside riots, 84
civil rights demonstrations, 83
Derrymacash, 41
Dewar, M.W., 35, 39
Diamond, battle of (1795), 323, 34, 107, 162
direct rule, 78, 90, 91, 110, 156
discrimination, 11, 62, 80, 82, 109
disputes over parades, see Parading disputes
Dissenters, 29, 30, see also Presbyterians
District lodges, 1001, 104
byelaws, 100
officials, election of, 101
Dixon, Sir Daniel, 50
Doherty, Paul, 14, 130, 134
Dollys Brae (Co. Down), 39, 107, 162
Donegal, 65
Donegal County Lodge, 122
Donegall Pass (Belfast), 135
Donnelly, Anne, 61
Dooley, Brian, 11
Douglas, William, 76, 89, 90
Down (county), 29
doxa, 26
Drew, Reverend, 40, 44
drinking, see Alcohol
Dromore, 37, 81
Drumcree dispute (Portadown), 16, 114
19951999: 1995, 13, 23, 103, 104,
16970; 1996, 46, 167, 171; 1997,
173; 1998, 149, 1736; 1999, 1756
Catholic community, effect on, 178
churches and, 135
commemorative medals, 3
contradictions, 181
Grand Lodge and, 103, 104, 174
media coverage of, 167
negotiations, 2, 3, 4, 6
police, confrontations with, 1, 4, 56, 174
protest parades and road blocks, 56, 121,
Protestant and Catholic relations, effect on,
unionist politics and, 1789
UVF involvement, 5
drumming matches, 70
drumming parties, 489, 51, 58, 59, 64, 68,

Dublin, 162
Grand Lodge move to, 35
OConnells statue, 41
Williamite commemorations, 31, 32, 35, 41
Williams statue, 31
Dublin Evening Post, 31
Dudley-Edwards, Ruth, 8
Dunbar-Buller, 53
Dungannon (Co. Tyrone), 63, 66, 86
civil rights demonstrations, 83
Dungiven (Co. Londonderry), 86
parading disputes, 756, 84, 87, 90
Dunloy (Co. Antrim), 54
Durkheim, Emile, 17
Eames, Archbishop Robin, 175
Easter parades
loyalist, 64, 121, 122, 123, 183
republican, see Easter Rising
Easter Rising (1916), 57
republican commemorations, 61, 64, 75,
80, 87, 90
Eastern Europe, 21
ecumenism, opposition to, 13, 801
Edenderry Field (Belfast), 1479
education, 54, 61, 72, 75
electoral reform, 45, 84
gerrymandering, 11, 82
proportional representation, abolition of, 61
widening of franchise, 21, 25, 45, 49
Eleventh Night bonfires, 58, 634, 70, 109,
alcohol, 138
Belfast, 1378
Irish Tricolour, burning of, 138
local fires, 138
Elizabeth II, 75, 107
emblems, see Flags and emblems
emergency powers, 61
employment, discrmination in, 62, 82, 109
endogamy, 14
Enniskillen (Co. Fermanagh), 83, 85, 89, 162
Erne, Earl of, 52
ethnicity, 1216
complexities and tensions, 13
formation of ethnic identity, 13
heterogeneity in conflict with, 13, 1516
history and tradition, 256
labour of representation, 1617, 20
local identity, and, 1314
multivocal symbolic forms, 16, 19, 177
political communities, and, 1216
political identification, 15
power, and, 1922
Protestant identity, 1213, 15, 179
resistance, 225
ritual, and, 1728
self and community, 1516
social class variables, 1415
sports, 14
symbols, 1213
telling, 13
Eucharistic Congress (1932), 65

European elections, 104
evictions, 678, 86
faction fighting, 32
fair employment, 109
Falls Road (Belfast), 66, 79
army curfew, 88
Farrell, Michael
cited, 61, 65, 68, 76, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86,
88, 91, 92
Faulkner, Brian, 75, 76, 81, 83, 84, 89, 90, 93
feeder parades, 120, 123
Fenians, 46
Fermanagh (county), 29
Fermanagh County Grand Lodge, 80
Fianna Fil, 65
Field, the, 48, 51, 63
Belfast Twelfth, 1479; awards to bands,
148; crowd participation, 1489
political speeches, 48, 61, 62, 724, 148
religious service, 148, 153
resolutions, 148, 153
Scarva Sham Fight, 152
Finaghy Field, 63, 73, 75, 85, 88
Fintona (Co. Tyrone), 82
Finucane (Pat) Centre, 110
Fitzgerald, Garrett, 158
flags and emblems, 64, 76, 125, 130, 180
Belfast Twelfth, at, 140, 142, 146
blood and thunder bands, carried by, 128,
146, 164
Flags and Emblems Act 1954, 6970, 75, 79
Independent Ulster flags, 157
Irish Tricolour, 6970, 75, 79, 84, 109, 138
officially permitted flags, 128, 146
paramilitary flags in Orange parades, 1289,
131, 146, 157, 164, 170, 180
Protestant symbols, 12
Union flag, 12, 64, 69, 76, 79
Flanagan, Ronnie, 173
flute bands, 3, 70, 126, 140, 142, 151
Forrest, George, 82
Free Presbyterian Church, 79, 91, 107
Freemasons, 113, 152
French Revolution, 21, 32
fundamentalist Protestants, 13, 72, 74, 94, 104
Orange Institution, and, 107
Garvagh (Co. Derry), 57, 89
Garvaghy Road (Portadown), 2, 3, 4, 167, 173,
see also Drumcree dispute
Garvaghy Road Residents Group, 6, 173, 176
George V Jubilee celebrations, 67, 68
gerrymandering, 11, 82
Gertrude Star Flute band, 140, 151
Gibbon, Peter
cited, 32, 33, 40, 41, 44, 45, 47, 50, 58
Gillis, John, 21
Gladstone, William Ewart, 49, 50
Glasgow Celtic, 14
Glasgow Rangers, 12, 14, 138, 147, 152
Glenarm (Co. Antrim), 63
Glorious Revolution, 30, 31
golden era of Orangeism, 6972, 77

Orange Parades
Good Friday Agreement (1998), 15, 110, 174
Goody, Jack, 17
Gracey, Harold, 159, 175
Grand Lodge of Great Britain, 38
Grand Lodge of Ireland, 35, 36, 42, 45, 51, 64,
86, 1013, 160, 161
attendance at meetings, 102
band contract, 125
Central Committee, 102, 104
committees, 102
county representatives, 101
criticisms of, 1023
disbandment of (1825), 37, 38
disputes, final arbiter on, 104
Education Committee, 102, 160
Finance Committee, 102
Grand committee, 102
media, link with, 104, 105
membership, 101
officials, 1012
parade disputes, and, 113; Drumcree
dispute, 103, 104, 174
Portadown Orangemen, relations with,
Press Committee, 102
role of, 104
Rules Revision Committee, 102
Grand Lodge of Ulster
formation of, 35
Grand Lodges, 35
Grand Master, 105
Grand Royal Arch Purple Chapter of Ireland,
Gray, Tony, 32
Great War, 55, 64, 69, 128
Battle of the Somme (1916), 556
Guy Fawkes Day, 123
Hadden, Tom, 61
Haddick-Flynn, Kevin
cited, 30, 31, 32, 35, 37, 39, 111, 113
Hall, Stuart, 23
Hanlon, K., 134
Hanna, G.B., 75
Hanna, Rev Hugh, 40, 46, 50
Harbinson, John, 60, 80
Harland, Mr., 53
Harland and Wolff shipyard (Belfast), 12, 50,
Harris, Rosemary, 13, 14
Harrison, Simon, 19
Haslett, Sir James, 53
Heath, Edward, 91
Henry VIII, 29
Hepburn, A.C., 68
Hermon, Sir John, 158, 181
Hibernians, see Ancient Order of Hibernians
Higgins, Gareth, 32, 40
Hill, Lord Arthur, 50, 52, 54
Hill, Jacqueline, 31, 36, 42
Hitler, Adolf, 163
Hobsbawm, Eric, 21, 256, 26
Holloway, David, 14, 135

Home Rule, 47, 48, 49, 52, 54, 179
opposition to, 50, 545, 589, 78
Home Rule Party, 49
housing, discrmination in, 80, 82
Humphrey, C., 10, 17, 18, 29
hunger strikes, 169
imagined communities, 12
Imperial Grand Orange Lodge, 97
Independent Orange Order, 524, 85, 97,
DUP, relations with, 116
Magheramorne Manifesto (1905), 534
old Order and, differences between, 116
industrial power, 58
industrial society, 12
industrial unrest, 50
industrialisation, 7, 58
ingrained habituation, 26
instituted groups, 16, 19
integrated education, 14
International Eucharistic Congress (1932), 65
internment, 91
intoxication, see Alcohol
invented tradition, 25
Irish Free State, 61, 67
Constitution (1937), 67
economic war, 65
Eucharistic Congress (1932), 65
oath to the Crown, removal of, 65, 66
Orangeism in, 65
Roman Catholic Church, position of, 65, 67
Irish nationalism, see Nationalism; Nationalist
Irish News, 55, 167
Irish Parliament, 312
Irish Protestant, 52
Irish question, 47, 57
Irish Republican Army (IRA), 57, 65, 66, 69,
75, 84, 86, 88, 91, 157, 162, see also
Provisional IRA
ceasefire (1994), 23
military campaign, 8990
Irish Republicans, see Irish Republican Army;
Republican movement; Sinn Fin
Irish Shield of Refuge LOL 369, 107
Irish state, see AngloIrish Agreement; Dublin;
Irish Free State; Republic of Ireland
Irish Tricolour, 6970, 75, 79, 84, 109
burning of, at Eleventh bonfires, 138
Irish Universities Shield of Refuge LOL 369, 101
Irish Volunteers, 55, 170
Irvinestown (Co. Fermanagh), 57
Jakubowska, Longina, 22
James II, 3, 7, 30
Jarman, Neil
cited, 6, 8, 11, 14, 31, 32, 36, 45, 47, 48,
49, 56, 61, 63, 64, 69, 75, 80, 114, 115,
119, 121, 127, 130, 131, 134, 152,
153, 161, 163, 169, 173
jazzing of banners, 71
Jefferson, Tony, 23
Jenkins, Richard, 13, 23, 127

Jesuits, 162
Johnston, William, 447, 50, 52, 53, 59
Jones, David, 120
journeymen weavers, 33
Junior Grand Lodge of Ireland, 114
Junior Orange lodges, 64, 97, 114
Junior Orange parades, 85, 87, 90, 122, 123
social parades, 1201
Kaplan, Martha, 19
Kelly, Grainne, 115, 160
Kelly, John, 19
Kennaway, Rev. Brian, 160
Kennedy, Billy, 145
Kertzer, David
cited, 19, 20, 22, 78, 138, 142, 176
kick the Pope bands, 92, 121
Kilfedder, James, 104
Kilkeel, 65
Kilrea, 56
Kilsherry (Co. Tyrone), 89
kilty bands, 126
labour of representation, 8, 1617, 19, 20, 177
Orange parades as part of, 17
Labour Party, Northern Ireland, 61
Labour Party (Great Britain), 72, 104
labour patronage, 58
Laidlaw, J., 10, 17, 18, 29
Lake, General, 34
Lambeg, 401
lambeg drums, 701, 126
land hunger, 68
land reform, 52, 53
Lane, Christel, 21
Larne and East Antrim Times, 163, 164
Larne (Co. Antrim), 39, 65
Larsen, S.S., 14, 163
Leach, Edmund, 18
Leckpatrick, 72
Lee, J.J., 83, 86
Lemass, Sean, 79
Lewis, Gilbert, 18
Leyton, Elliott, 13
Liberal Party, 49, 50, 54
Limavady, 76
Limerick, 68
Treaty of Limerick (1691), 30
Linfield Football Club, 12, 88
Lisburn, 40, 41, 48, 56, 65, 68
local elections
gerrymandering, 11, 82
redrawing of boundaries, 61
reform, 84
local identity, 1314
local parades, 11920, 1356
lodges, see Orange lodges
Loftus, Belinda, 31, 130
Notting Hill Carnival, 234
Londonderry, see Derry/Londonderry; Siege of
Longstone Road (Co. Down), 75, 84, 89
Loughbrickland, 65

Loughgall (Co. Armagh)
Battle of the Diamond (1795), 323, 34
Orange bicentenary parade (1995), 121
Louis XIV, 30
Lower Ormeau Concerned Community, 134
Loyal Orange Widows Fund, 120
loyal orders, 97, 11317, see also Apprentice
Boys of Derry; Loyalist parades; Orange
Institution; Royal Arch Purple; Royal
Black Institution
differences between, 116
similarities between, 116
loyalism, meaning of, 15
loyalist bands, see Bands
loyalist parades, 114, 115, 116, 11921, see
also Apprentice Boys parades; Black
parades; Junior Orange parades; Orange
parades; Twelfth parades
annual commemorative parades, 119, 134,
see also Boyne commemorations; Somme
commemorations; Twelfth parades
arch, banner and hall parades, 120
Armistice Day parades, 123
band parades, 121, 123, 1578
banners, see Banners
Belfast, see Belfast parades; Belfast Twelfth
calendar of, 1223, 1834
church parades, 120, 122, 123
feeder parades, 120, 123
historical legitimisation, 161, 162, 165
interest groups, utilisation by, 27, 168,
local parades, 11920, 1356
marching season, 11836, 1834
mini-Twelfth parades, 11920, 122
musical accompaniment, 1256
number of, 118, 182
RUC, and, 1589, 169, 181
similarities between, 116
social memory, 153
social parades, 1201
tradition, legitimisation by, 7, 9, 1612,
typology of, 11921
loyalist paramilitaries, 15, 112, 168, see also
Loyalist Volunteer Force; Ulster Defence
Association; Ulster Volunteer Force
bands, relations with, 127, 128, 129, 146,
157, 164
ceasefire (1994), 23, 5, 169
dissident loyalist groups, 174
Orange parades, and, 157, 161; flags carried
in parades, 128, 146, 157, 164, 170,
Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), 15, 113, 174,
Lukes, Steven, 17
Lundy, Robert, 138
Lurgan (Co. Armagh), 5, 41, 48, 86, 167
AOH demonstrations, 56
civil disturbances and riots, 51, 56, 65, 84
first Orange parade, 31
Twelfth parade (1797), 345
Luther, Martin, 162

Orange Parades
McCann, Eamonn, 83, 86
McCartney, Clem, 12, 61
McClelland, Aiken, 44, 45, 113
McConnell, Brian, 81
McCrea, Rev. William, 90, 93, 148, 161
McCullough, Charles, 88
McCusker, Harold, 1612
McDowell, R.B., 34
McFarlane, Graham, 13, 14
Mach, Zdzislaw, 21, 60
McIlwaine, Rev., 40
McMichael, John, 159
Madagascar, 19, 20, 25
Maghera, 89
Magheramorne Manifesto (1905), 534
Maginess, Brian, 75
Maginnis, Ken, 103, 110, 175
Maralin (Co. Down), 89
marching bands, see Bands
marching season, 9, 11836, 1834, see also
Annual commemorative parades; Easter
parades; Loyalist parades; Orange
parades; Twelfth parades
calendar of loyalist parades, 1223, 1834
nationalist parades, 61, 69, 75, 77
period of, 122
republican commemorative parades, see
under Republican movement
typology of loyalist parades, 11921
Margaret, Princess, 76
Markethill (Co. Armagh), 121
Mary, Queen, 30
Mason, Roy, 169
mass politics, 25
May-Day celebrations: Poland, 212
Mayes, T.H., 68
Mayhew, Sir Patrick, 134, 171
media, see also Belfast News Letter; Belfast
parading disputes, coverage of, 1645
Twelfth parades, reporting of, 1638
Mediation Network for Northern Ireland, 2
Merina (Madagascar), 19, 20, 25
Methodist Church, 13, 87
Drumcree dispute, and, 176
middle-class Protestants
active politics, non-participation in, 111
Orange Order membership, and, 93, 11112
social interaction, 14
Millar, David, 32, 34
Millar Memorial melody flute band, 142
Minford, Bolton, 87
Minford, Nat, 80, 81
mini-Twelfth parades, 72, 88, 11920, 122
Belfast, 1312, 134
mixed marriages, 14
modernisation, 58
Moloney, Ed
cited, 74, 76, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 87, 88
Molyneaux, James, 148, 165, 166
Monaghan, Orange parades in, 65
monster parades, 39
Montgomery, Graham, 170
Morgan, Austen, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57

Morgan, Valerie, 14
Morley, David, 19
Mowlam, Mo, 173
Mullhouse Total Abstinence Loyal Orange
Lodge, 51
murals, 14, 63, 130
Murtagh, Harman, 30
musical accompaniment to parades, 4, 31, 68,
1256, see also Bands; Blood and thunder
bands; Drumming parties
the Sash, 4, 70, 71, 84, 145, 150
Myerhoff, Barbra, 20
National Council for Civil Liberties, 68
nationalism, 63, 95, 156, 162
civil rights demonstrations, see Civil rights
public expressions of, 11
nationalist parades, 567
restrictions on, 61, 69, 75, 77
Nelson, Sarah, 83, 90, 96
Nevin, Thomas, 66
Newry (Co. Down), 84
newspapers, see also Belfast News Letter; Belfast
Twelfth parades, reporting of, 1634, 168
Newtownabbey Times, 164
Newtownards (Co. Down), 32, 41, 45, 81
Newtownbutler (Co. Fermanagh), 67
battle of, commemmoration of, 119, 123
riots (1955), 75
Newtowngore (Co. Leitrim), 65
No Go areas, 86, 90, 92, 156, 180
North, Dr Peter, 171
North Belfast Accordion Band, 656
Northern Ireland, 59, see also Northern Ireland
government; Northern Ireland
Catholic minority, alienation of, 61
civil service, 61
direct rule, introduction of, 78, 90, 91, 110,
formation of state, 9, 162, 180
Orange State, 60, 61
Protestant state for a Protestant people, 669
ritual in, 278
Special Powers Act, 61, 68
Twelfth parades in the new state, 619
Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association
(NICRA), 82, 91
Northern Ireland government
criticisms of, at Twelfth parades, 62, 63, 79,
80, 82, 88
Orange membership of, 60
working-class Protestants and, 72
Northern Ireland Labour Party, 72, 74, 77, 94
Northern Ireland Office, 6, 91
Northern Ireland Parliament, 66
Orange membership, 60
Protestant Parliament for a Protestant
People, 61
suspension of, 78, 90, 91, 110
Northern Ireland Unionist Party (NIUP), 104
Northern Whig, 37, 42

Notting Hill Carnival (London), 234
O God, Our Help in Ages Past (hymn), 148,
OConnell, Daniel, 36, 37, 41, 42, 138, 179
Dochartaigh, Niall, 83
Official IRA, 92
Old Boyne Island Heroes LOL 633, 131
OLeary, Cornelius, 40, 41
Omagh (Co. Tyrone), 57, 89
bomb (1998), 106
one man one vote, 84
ONeill, Phelim, 81, 82
ONeill, Terence, 74, 77, 78, 81, 83, 87
Catholic community, and, 80
Protestant opposition to, 79
talks with Lemass (1965), 79
Orange arches, see Arches
Orange card, 179
Orange halls, 98, 100
burning of, 84
maintenance of, 99
parades held at opening of, 120
Orange Institution, 1, 3, 9, 33, see also
Independent Orange Order; Orange
parades; Twelfth parades
Act of Union, attitudes to, 35
Apprentice Boys of Derry, and, 115
authority structure, 9, 104
autonomy, 104, 105
B-Specials, and, 10910
Battle of the Diamond 1795 (Loughgall),
323, 34
biblical teaching, 106
Boyne Clubs, 34
Boyne commemorations, appropriation of,
32, 41, 42
British State and, relations between, 156,
157, 170
bylaws, 99, 100
Central Committee, 102, 104
changes, 177
civil and religious liberties, 109, 161
class divisions, 41, 51, 1567
codification of rules, 35
committees, 102
conservative control of, 46
Constitution, Laws and Ordinances of the Loyal
Institution of Ireland, 105
control, struggles for, 80, 81, 82, 15961
County Chaplains, 46
crown, allegiance to, 107
cultural identity, expression of, 1078
decision-making bodies, 99, 104
decline of, 11113
degrees within Orangeism, 106, 113
direct rule, position following, 156
disbandment of Grand Lodge (1825), 37
disciplinary body, 104
dissolution of, 38
diversity, 99100
divisions within, 104, 156, 170
duties of an Orangeman, 1056
economic patronage, 445, 50, 589, 109

Orange Institution continued
expulsion from, 106
founding of, 31, 323, 179
fundamentalist Protestants and, 107
geographic divisions, 118
governing body, 97, see also Grand Lodge of
Grand Master, 104
historical development of, 3141, 111
Home Rule, opposition to, 50, 545, 589
independent Orangemen, 46, 52, see also
Independent Orange Order
labour patronage, 58
landlord patronage, 44, 46
lodges, see Orange lodges
lower-classes, popularity among, 41, 42, 44
loyalist paramilitaries, and, 112
Masonic background, 33
media, and, 104, 105
membership: decline in, 11113; election of
members, 106; middle-class Protestants,
93, 11112, 180; numbers, 93; police
officers, 10910; Presbyterians, 43, 45,
46; qualifications, 1056; reasons for,
other loyal orders and, differences between,
Paisley, relations with, 79, 80, 81
pan-unionist force, as, 107
parade disputes, and, 103, 104, 113, 170;
The Order on Parade (1995), 170
parades of, see Orange parades; Twelfth
political aspects, 107, 108; patronage, 78,
109, 110; perceptions of political
impotence, 112, 168; political power, 43,
60, 168
Protestant community, defender of, 105,
106, 168
Protestant faith, defender of, 105, 106
Protestant identity, and, 13, 51, 1078
public legitimacy, 34
purpose of, 105
reform, 102, 160
religious significance, 1067, 108
respectability, see Respectable Orangeism
revival (1907), 58
Roman Catholic community, relations with:
anti-Catholic discourse, 108
Royal Arch Purple, and, 114
Royal Black Institution, relations with, 113
RUC members, 110
rules, 105, 106
secret society, trappings of, 98
sectarianism, 1089, 112
security forces, relations with, 10910
Select Committee (1835), 38
solidarity, 107
state legitimacy, 345
strength of, 58
structure, 97103
Twelfth parades, see Twelfth parades
United Irishmen, and, 34, 35
uniting force, as, 13, 107

Orange Parades
UUC membership, 60, 103
UUP, relations with, 74, 94, 1035, 110,
112, 161
William Johnston of Ballykilbeg, 447
Williamite anniversaries, appropriation of, 34
womens lodges, 114
working-class Protestants, and, 44, 46, 111,
youth section, 114
Orange Lils, 150
Orange lodges
bylaws, 99, 100
County Grand Lodges, 101, 104
decisions at lodge meetings, 99
District lodges, 1001, 104
diversity, 99100
election of officials, 98, 101
financial commitments, 99
Junior Orange lodges, 64, 97, 114
local histories, 100
lodge banners, 99, see also Banners
lodge books, 98
meetings of, 98
membership, 99100
names of lodges, 989
private lodges, 97100, 104
religious services, 98
Tylor, 98
warrants, 978
womens lodges, 114
Orange Order, see Orange Institution
Orange parades, 245, 122, 1767
annual commemorative parades, 119, see
also Boyne commemorations; Twelfth
arch, banner and hall parades, 120
bands, see Bands
banners, see Banners
banning of, 367, 42, 67
Belfast, in, see Belfast parades; Belfast Twelfth
Belfast Twelfth, see Belfast Twelfth
bicentenary parade (1995), 121
carnivalesque elements, 245, 36, 126, 180
church parades, 120, 123
civil disturbances/riots associated with, see
Civil disturbances and riots
class interests, utilisation by, 8, 9, 413, 59,
continuity, sense of, 7, 1534, 170, 172,
contradictions, 153
contradictions within, 55, 133
creativity, 153
differing interpretations, 8, 9
diversity of interests, 7, 17, 80
elites, power of, 22, 23
feeder parades, 120
flags, 125, 1289, see also Flags and
hangers-on, 23
historical development, 318; appropriation
of Williamite commemorations, 315;
early parades, 31; battle for respectability, 358

labour of representation, part of, 17
local parades, 11920, 1356
marching season, 11836, 1834
mini-Twelfths, see Mini-Twelfth parades
monster parades, 39
motives of participants, 177
occasional parades, 121
other loyalist organisations, parades of, 113,
paramilitary flags and symbols, 1289, 131,
146, 157, 161, 164, 170, 177, 180
political control of, 7
Protestant symbols, 1213
respectability, 358, 126
right to parade, 3841, see also Right to
rougher elements, 9, 48, 49
routes and destinations, 43
RUC, confrontations with, 1589
social parades, 1201
Somme commemorations, see Somme commemorations
spectators, 3, 43, 140, 141, 1423, 146,
150, 151
state rituals, as, 9
tradition, legitimisation by, 7, 9, 1612, 172
Twelfth parades, see Twelfth parades
Orange Protestant Workingmens Association,
Orange Standard, 102, 124, 128, 145
Orange State, 61
Orange Voice of Freedom, 81
Orange Volunteers, 90
Orange Widows services, 101, 122
Orangeism, 7, 23, 27, see also Orange
Institution; Respectable Orangeism
elite, control by, 23
golden era, 6972, 77
Johnstons style of, 46
Paisley as defender of rights of, 178
political opposition, reflection of, 7
Protestant identity, as focus of, 155
rituals and symbols, 7
self-image, 22
Ormeau Road (Belfast), 15, 100, 132, 134, 143,
150, 167
betting shop killings (1992), 134, 169
parading dispute, 134, 169
Orr, Laurence, 87, 91
Orr, L.P.S., 75, 82, 85
Paisley, Rev. Ian, 15, 74, 76, 77, 84, 89, 91, 94,
95, 104, 105, 112, 113, 159, 1601, see
also Democratic Unionist Party; Free Presbyterian Church
Apprentice Boys, relations with, 115
civil rights demonstrations, and, 11, 79, 82,
83, 84, 95
Drumcree dispute, and, 1, 2, 3, 6
ecumenism, opposition to, 801
election to Westminster (1970), 87
founds Democratic Unionist Party, 90
Independent Orange Order, and, 116
Orange Institution, departure from, 79
populist appeal, 79

super-Orangeman, as, 7982, 178
Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, 87
Ulster Protestant Volunteers, involvement
with, 80
Parachute Regiment, 91
parades, see also Bands; Banners; Flags and
emblems; Parades Commission; Parading
civil rights demonstrations, see Civil rights
control of, 11819
Independent Review of Parades and
Marches, 171
loyalist parades, see Apprentice Boys
parades; Band parades; Black parades;
Boyne commemorations; Junior Orange
parades; Loyalist parades; Marching
season; Orange parades; Somme commemorations; Twelfth parades
nationalist, see Nationalist parades
notification requirements, 11819, 161
permission to hold, 118
republican commemorations, see under
Republican movement
right to parade, see Right to march
statistics, 118, 182
Volunteers parades, 32
Parades Commission, 115, 118, 131, 134, 173
criteria for determination of disputes, 1734
Drumcree dispute, and, 176
guidelines for parades, 119
parading disputes, 567, 84, 956, 112, 113,
118, 119, see also Drumcree dispute
Apprentice Boys parades, 115
Dungiven, 757
Grand Lodge and, 103, 104, 174
Longstone Road, 75
media reporting of, 1645
Orange Institution and, 103, 104, 113; The
Order on Parade (1995), 170
Ormeau Road (Belfast), 132
Portadown, see Drumcree dispute;
Tour of the North (Belfast), 1301
paramilitary ceasefires (1994), 23, 5, 169
Parkin, David, 17, 18, 177
Parnell, Charles Stewart, 49
Party Emblems Act 1860, 41
Party Processions Acts, 38, 39, 40, 45, 47
removal from statute book, 47, 48
Patriot Party, 312
Patterson, Henry, 44, 45, 52, 57
Patton, Joel, 149, 160, 174
peace process, 2, 169
Peep ODay Boys, 32, 33, 34
penal laws, 30
Peoples Democracy, 83, 84, 85, 91
Pirrie, William, 51, 53
Plantation, 29
Poland, May-Day celebrations in, 212
police, 39, 40, 61, see also B-Specials; Royal
Ulster Constabulary
civil rights campaigners, confrontations
with, 83
Orange Order, relations with, 109, 110

politeness, conventions of, 13
political communities, 12
ethnicity and, 1216
imagined communities, 12
political demonstrations, 11
political identification, 13, 15
political patronage, 78
political power
ritual and, 1922, 17681
Pollak, Andy
cited, 74, 76, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 87, 88
Pomeroy (Co. Tyrone), 56, 1489, 160
Poole, Michael, 14, 130, 134
Pope, the, 79, 109, 138, 163
kick the Pope bands, 92, 121
papal encyclicals, 65
Popery, 162
Poppi, Cesare, 23
Popular Unionists, 104
Portadown (Co. Armagh), 1, 68, 90, 91
AOH demonstrations, 56
band parades, 121, 158
Carlton Street Orange hall, 100
civil disturbances and riots, 48, 51, 56, 65,
145, 157
dissident loyalist groups, 174, 178
Drumcree church parade, 51, 92, see also
Drumcree dispute
Independent Orange lodge, 116
massacre of Protestants (1641), 30, 162,
mini-Twelfth parade, 120, 122
parade disputes, 48, 51, 92, 113, 157, 158,
159, 164, 165, 169, 181, see also
Drumcree dispute
Portadown Parliament, 83
Portadown No. 1 District, 100, 159, 175, 176,
see also Drumcree dispute
Grand Lodge, relations with, 1045
Portadown Orangemen, 2, 3
Porter, Norman (MP), 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 93
Porter, Robert, 89
Porter, Warren, 79
Portglenone, 82
Pounder, Rafton, 85, 89
Orange Institutions political power, 43, 60,
resistance to, 225, 27, 77
ritual, and, 1922, 27, 17681
powerless, resistance of, see Resistance
Poyntzpass, 56, 66
practical groups, 16, 19
pre-Twelfth parades, see Mini-Twelfth parades
Presbyterian Church, 13, 80
Drumcree dispute, and, 176
ecumenical wing, 80
Paisleys criticisms of, 80
Presbyterians, 33, 34, 40, 43, 45
settlers from Scotland, 29
Price, S., 26
private lodges, 35, 97100, 104
Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), 15, 104, 112,
129, 132, 142, 178

Orange Parades
Protestant Ascendancy, 31, 34
Protestant churches, see also Anglicans; Church
of Ireland; Methodist Church; Presbyterians
Drumcree dispute, and, 135
theological divisions, 13
Protestant community, 12, 15, 21, see also
Middle-class Protestants; Protestant
identity; Working-class Protestants
British state, relations with, 181
civil rights marches and, 11, 278
class divisions, 14
Drumcree dispute, effect of, 178
Orangeism as defender of, 105, 106, 168
political identification, 12
political parties, 15
symbols of, 1213
unity of, Orangeism as force for, 50, 107
Protestant identity, 8, 1213, 15, 179
cultural identity, 1078
formation of, 29
local identity, 1314
Orangeism as focus of, 51, 107, 155
political identity, 107
religious identity, 1067
Protestant monarchy, allegiance to, 107
Protestant Telegraph, 81
Protestant Unionist Association, 89
Provisional IRA, 168, 180, see also Irish
Republican Army
ceasefire (1972), 92
ceasefire (1994), 23, 169; reinstatement of,
Public Order Act, 69
Public Order Bill, 83
public order legislation, 171
Public Processions Act, 118
Public Processions (NI) Act 1998, 173
public resistance, see Resistance
Purdie, Bob, 78, 79, 83
Queen Victoria Temperance LOL 760, 132
Queens Highway, right to use, 161
Quinn, Richard, Jason and Mark, 175
Radcliffe-Brown, A.R., 17
railways, 39, 46
Randalstown, 164
Ranger, Terence, 25, 26
Rastafarians, 24
Rathfriland, 89, 91
Rebellion of 1641, 30
Rebellion of 1798, 35
Red Hand Commando, 128, 129, 146, 164
Redmond, John, 55
Reformation Sunday, 120, 123
religious identification, 13
religious services, 4, 73, 98, 1345, 148, 153
church parades, 120, 122, 123, 134
Republic of Ireland, 162, see also Irish Free State
Constitution, 67
County Grand Lodges, 101

republican movement, 79, 162, see also Irish
Republican Army; Provisional IRA; Sinn
armed struggle, 95
civil rights movement, and, 85
Easter commemorations, 61, 64, 75, 80, 87,
90, 122
Easter Rising (1916), 57
Hunger Strikes, 169
number of parades, 118, 182
resistance, 225, 27, 77
low-profile forms of, 22
youth cultures, 23
respectable Orangeism, 89, 22, 4751, 589,
1067, 125, 154, 155, 156, 177
battle for respectability, 358
Black Institution, 114
blood and thunder bands, and, 23, 128
meaning of respectability, 8
media coverage of Twelfth parades, and,
retreat of, 96, 169
zenith of, 9, 70
Ribbonmen, 36, 37, 39, 56
right to march, 3841, 567, 747, 161, 171
civil rights demonstrations and, 827
disputes over, see Parading disputes
Drumcree dispute and, 171, 178
historical legitimacy, 1613
North Review Body, 171
political fracture, 168
tradition as basis for, 1612, 172
riots, see Civil disturbances and riots
ritual, 67, 1719
action and expression, 17, 18
carnival, 235
changing power relationships, and, 181
class divisions, 42
commemorative events, 21, see also Annual
commemorative parades; Boyne commemorations; Somme commemorations;
Twelfth parades
community, sense of, 201
confrontation within, 89
continuity, sense of, 7, 910, 1819
custom and tradition, distinction between,
differing interpretations, 10
historical destiny, 256
invented tradition, 25
meaning of, 1718
Northern Ireland, in, 278
parades, see Loyalist parades; Orange
parades; Parades; Twelfth parades
political control of, 78
power, and, 1922, 25, 27, 17681
repetitive performances, 910
resistance, and, 225, 27
ritual circumcision, 19, 20, 25
ritual commitment, 18
rule-bound, 18
state rituals, 6077
timelessness, 1920
traditional rituals, development of, 21

Volunteers celebrations, 32
Williamite rituals and commemorations, 31,
ritualization, 27
Robinson, Peter, 104, 160
Rolston, Bill, 14, 130
Roman Catholic Church, 66, 162, 168, see also
Pope, the
Catholic emancipation, 32, 35, 36, 179
ceremonies of, Orange attendance at, 82
Eucharistic Congress (1932), 65
Irish Constitution, special position in, 67
power of, in Irish Free State, 65
Roman Catholics, 12, 29, 30, 32, 34, 45, 54, see
also Ancient Order of Hibernians
alienation of, 61
Catholic identity, 8
civil rights demonstrations, see Civil rights
Drumcree dispute, and, 178
expulsions of Catholic workers in Belfast,
567, 68
nationalism, 47; see also Nationalism
No Go areas, 86, 90
Orangeism, and, 33, 105, 106, 108; antiCatholicism, 1089
Rossnowlagh parade (Co. Donegal), 122
Rostrevor (Co. Down), 52, 53
Orange parades, 64
Roth, Klaus, 21
Royal Arch Purple, 97, 106, 113, 114
Royal Black Institution, 9, 57, 64, 89, 97, 106,
11314, 151
banners and regalia, 64, 114, 152
membership of, 114
Orange Institution, relations with, 113
parades of, see Black parades
Scarva parade, see Scarva Sham Fight
Royal Irish Regiment, 110
Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), 67, 70, 75,
79, 86, 87, 91, 95, see also Police
civil rights demonstrations, and, 83
conflicts with, 110, 156, 157
disarming of, 86, 88
Drumcree dispute, and, 1, 4, 56, 174
Force Order (1984), 158
loyalist parades, and, 1589, 169, 181
Orange Order membership, 110
RTE, 164
Ruane, Joseph, 13, 14
St Marys Accordion Band, 68
Saint Patricks Day, 412
St Patricks Day
church services, 120
Saint Patricks Day parades, 65
Salisbury, Lord, 50
Salvation Army, 51, 118
Sandy Row (Belfast), 72, 73, 93, 133, 135
Eleventh Night bonfire, 137
Sandy Row District (Belfast), 88, 100, 101, 122,
133, 139, 141, 150, 151
Sash, 4, 70, 71, 84, 145, 150
sashes, 70, 80

Saulters, Robert, 103, 111, 160
Saunderson, Edward, 50, 52, 53
Scarva Sham Fight, 64, 123, 1513, 154
alcohol, consumption of, 152
bands, 152
banners and regalia, 152
contradictions, 153
Field, 152
parade, 1512
religious service, 153
respectable atmosphere, 152
return journey, 153
Scarva Sham fight, 116, 119
Scarvagh House, 151, 153
Scott, James, 223, 24, 35, 77
Scottish bands, 68, 71, 124, 126, 142
Scottish settlers, 29
Scullion, F., 70
Seawright, George, 15960
Second World War, 67, 69, 162
sectarian aspects of Orangeism, 1089
sectarian education, 54
sectarian violence, 48, 56, 6566, 67, see also
Civil disturbances and riots
Select Committee (1835), 38
Senior, Hereward, 31, 32, 33, 34, 36, 38, 42
Shankill (Belfast), 64, 66, 72, 73, 81, 85, 87, 88
Orange hall, 100
Whiterock mini-Twelfth parade, 131
Shankill Defence Association, 84
Shankill No. 9 District, 152
Short Strand (Belfast), 88, 1323, 151
Sibbert, R.M., 31, 35, 38, 39, 40, 42
Siege of Derry (168889), 30, 31, 32, 107, 114,
commemorations of, 114, 115
silver bands, 126
Simms, J.G., 31, 32
Sinn Fin, 57, 79, 162, 169
Sixmilecross (Co. Tyrone), 72
Sixteenth (Irish) Division, 55
Sloan, James, 33
Sloan, Thomas, 523, 54, 59
Smyth, Clifford, 167
Smyth, Jim, 8, 35
Smyth, Rev. Martin, 82, 88, 103, 111, 116,
130, 148, 159, 160
Drumcree dispute, and, 103, 104, 170, 178
soccer, 14
social class, see Class divisions; Class interests;
Middle-class Protestants; Working-class
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), 91,
social interaction, 14
social memory, 153
social parades, 1201
socialism, opposition to, 61, 72
socially constructed communities, 12
Somme, battle of (1916), 12, 556, 107, 162
Somme commemorations, 56, 64, 66, 68, 107,
Belfast, 56, 131, 132, 133
church parades, 120

Orange Parades
mini-Twelfth parades, 119, 122
wee-Twelfth, 72
Soviet Union, 21
Special Powers Act, 61, 68, 69, 81
Spirit of Drumcree, 102, 103, 104, 111, 149,
160, 170, 174, 178
all-Ireland teams, 14
ethnic identity and, 14
Spring, Dick, 166
Springfield Road (Belfast), 131
St Marys Chapel (Belfast), 32
state, see British state; Northern Ireland; State
state rituals
Twelfth parades as, 9, 6077, 8793, 94,
156, 180
Stewart, A.T.Q., 32
Stewartstown, 38
Storer, Angela, 89
Stormont Inn, 133
Stormont parliament, see Northern Ireland
Strabane, 57
civil rights demonstration, 84
Stranmillis College, 54
street decorations, 63, 130, see also Arches
street preachers, 40
Sugden, John, 14
symbols, 67, 12, 19
multivocal qualities of, 16, 19, 177
political control of, 7
Protestant community, of, 1213
Tambiah, Stanley, 18
Tandragee (Co. Armagh), 82
Taylor, John, 103
telling, 13
tenant-right, 52
tenant right movement, 47
Thatcher, Margaret, 158
Thirteenth, see Scarva Sham Fight
36th (Ulster) Division, 55, 56, 128
36th Ulster Division LOL 977, 132
Thompson, Robert, 51
Thompson, Rev. William, 82
Thornliebank Amateur Accordion Band, 71
Times, The, 86
Todd, Jennifer, 13, 14
Tonkin, Elizabeth, 20, 163
Topping, W.W.B., 76
Tour of the North (Belfast), 1301
town centres, 83
trade unionism, 52
tradition, 256, 154, 15572, 172
authenticity, claim to, 26
custom, distinguished from, 256
historical legitimisation, 26
invented tradition, 25
meanings of, 26
media coverage of Twelfth parades, and,
Orange parades, legitimisation of, 7, 9,
1612, 172

re-creation of, 172
reassertion of, 1612, 16870
right to march, as basis for, 1612, 172
traditional rituals, development of, 21, 26
traditional societies, 26
Treaty of Limerick (1691), 30
Trimble, David, 15, 103, 106, 148, 171
Drumcree dispute, and, 1, 2, 3, 6, 175, 176,
Troubles, 86
Turner, Victor, 17, 19
Twelfth of July, 22, 47, see also Twelfth parades
invention of, 29
public holiday, 63, 123
Twelfth parades, 34, 6, 7, 9, 10, 25, 27, 378,
467, 119, 13754, see also Belfast
alcohol, consumption of, 4, 51, 59, 71, 93,
ban on, 179
bands, see Bands
belonging, sense of, 178
changing nature of, 22, 63, 923, 1556,
civil rights movement, and, 84, 85
class divisions, 38, 63
class interests, utilisation by, 413, 1556
continuity, sense of, 154, 155, 163, 172
cultural identity, expression of, 1078
diversity of interests, 17, 80
drumming parties, 489, 51, 58, 59, 64
dynamic political ritual, 9
the Field, 48, 51, 724
flags and emblems, 180
fundamentalist Protestants, and, 94
golden era, 6972, 77
historical development, 318, 46, 478,
1556; early commemorations, 312,
179; battle for respectability, 358
historical legitimacy, 1623
lower classes, popularity among, 41, 42,
mass politics, growth of, 25
media reporting of, 48, 73, 1638
militant sectarianism, 168
motivations behind, 179
new Northern state, in, 619
north-south tensions, reflections of, 65
organisation of, 101
political pressures, 74, 154, 168
political significance, 179
political speeches, 48, 50, 61, 62, 724,
7980, 94
populist nature of, 63
post-war Twelfth, 6972
power struggles, 80, 81, 82
preparations for the Twelfth: Belfast,
12335; bonfires, see Eleventh Night
Protestant identity, and, 51
Protestant preachers, role of, 40
Protestant unity, symbol of, 50
religious services, 4, 73, 1345, 148
respectable Orangeism, and, 4751

restrictions on: ban (1825), 36, 42; Party
Processions Acts, 38, 39, 40, 45, 47, 48
rowdy elements, 58, 70, 93
Second World War, abandonment during,
social class, and, 413
socialism, opposition to, 62, 72
state of the nation occasions, 61
state ritual, as, 6077, 94, 156, 180; demise
of, 8793
stewards, 47
tradition, legitimisation by, 7, 9, 1612,
Tylors, 31, 98, 140
undesirables, 58
unionist government, criticisms of, 62, 63,
79, 80, 82, 88
UVF flags, 177
venues, 101
Tylors, 31, 98, 140
typology of loyalist parades, 11921
UK Unionists (UKUP), 104
Ulster Clubs, 113, 159
Ulster Constitution Defence Committee, 87
Ulster Day, 55
Ulster Defence Association (UDA), 15, 87, 96,
112, 113, 157, 159, 180
flags of, in Orange parades, 128, 146
formation of, 90
No Go areas, 92
political wing, 15
Portadown parade disputes, and, 92
Ulster Defence Regiment, 162
Orange membership, 110
Ulster Democratic Party (UDP), 15, 104, 112,
129, 132, 142
Belfast Twelfth, and, 178
Ulster Division Memorial LOL 977, 56
Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), 128, 134, 164
Ulster independence movement, 115, 116
Ulster Orange and Protestant Committee, 75
Ulster Plantation, 29
Ulster Popular Unionist Party, 104
Ulster Protestant Action, 74, 76
Ulster Protestant League, 67
Ulster Protestant Volunteers, 80, 83, 116
Ulster Special Constabulary LOL 1970, 94
Ulster Television, 93, 165, 168
Ulster Unionist Council, 54, 115
Orange Institution and, 60, 103
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 1, 3, 15, 62, 63,
72, 73, 75, 77, 85, 87, 113, see also
Trimble, David
Catholic members, debate over, 74
Drumcree dispute, and, 178
Orange Institution, relations with, 74, 94,
1035, 110, 112, 161
Vanguard movement, 90
Ulster (UVF magazine), 129
Ulster Volunteer Force (1912), 546, 57, 61,
128, 162, 167
drilling, 55
establishment, 55

Ulster Volunteer Force (1966), 15, 81, 84,
112, 113, 132, 164
Belfast Twelfth, and, 178
Drumcree dispute, and, 5
flags of, in Orange parades, 128, 131, 177,
mid-Ulster unit, 5
political wing, 15
Ulster Workers Council strike, 80
Ulsterisation of security situation, 169
Ulsters Solemn League and Covenant, 55
Unemployed Workers Committee, 61
Union flag, 12, 64, 69, 76, 79
unionism, 15, 47, 50, 589
hegemony, 48, 51
Home Rule, opposition to, 545
meaning of term, 15
political parties, 15
post-war unionist politics, 72
unionist army, 55
unionist newspapers
Twelfth parades, reporting of, 1634, 168
united Ireland, 83, 90, 95, 109
United Irish League, 52
United Irishmen, 34, 35, 179
United Ulster Loyalist Front, 113
United Unionist Party, 104
United Unionist party, 15
Unlawful Societies Act (1825), 37
UVF, see Ulster Volunteer Force
Vanguard movement, 90, 180
Volunteer movement, 312, 42, 55, 179
Walker, Brian, 44, 45
Wallace, Colonel, 56
Wallace, Colonel R.H., 55
warrants, 978
Watson, George, 93
Weber, M., 26
wee-Twelfth, see Mini-Twelfth parades
Weitzer, Ronald, 60
West, Harry, 82
Whiteboys, 33
Whitelaw, William, 91, 92
Whiterock parade (Belfast), 131
Whitten, Richard, 170
Whyte, John, 14
Wickham, Sir Charles, 67

Orange Parades
William III (William of Orange), 3, 7, 8, 12, 30,
31, 179
Orange banners, on, 31, 99
Williamite commemorations, 31, 32, 41, 84,
130, 153, 154, see also Boyne commemorations; Twelfth parades
Dublin, 31, 32, 35
Orange appropriation of, 34, 41, 42
respectability, air of, 35
Sham Fight at Scarva, 1513, 154
Williamite settlement, 30
Williamite societies, 31
Williamite wars, 30, 31
Williams, Walter, 85, 159
Willis, Paul, 23
Wilson, Harold, 80
Wolff, Gustav, 50, 53
Orangeism and, 97, 114, 142
working-class, 23, see also Working-class
cultural forms, development of, 23
enfranchisement of, 21, 25, 45
geographic divisions, 14
political agitation, 66
social interaction, 14
working-class Protestants, 46, 4950, 94, 177,
179, 180
Johnston and, 46
Northern Ireland Labour Party, attraction to,
72, 94
Orange Order, and, 111, 11213
unionist government, and, 72
World Council of Churches, 80, 91
Wright, Alan, 159
Wright, Billy, 174
Wright, Frank
cited, 32, 334, 39, 40, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47,
48, 49, 52, 59, 179
Wylie, John, 89
Yeomanry Corps, 34
Young, Sir Arthur, 87
Young Citizens Volunteers (YCV), 131, 164,
youth cultures, 23, 127, see also Blood and
thunder bands
teenage band followers, 3, 4, 93, 140,
1445, 1467